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11.18.10

The Biggest Books-to-Movies

Harry Potter is back, as a J.K. Rowling bestseller again hits the big screen. From Jaws to The Sound of Music, The Daily Beast ranks the books that became the biggest blockbusters.

On Friday, audiences around the globe will be swept up in a world full of spells, hormonal wizards, and Quidditch, as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the first half of the Harry Potter film series’ two-part finale, directed by David Yates. The films are, of course, adapted from the bestselling series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J.K. Rowling which have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide, and it’s also the highest-grossing film series of all time.

Although everything from children’s toys ( Transformers) to amusement park rides ( The Pirates of the Caribbean) are being fashioned into popular film franchises these days, as any Potter fan or Twi-hard will tell you, the book-to-film adaptation still reigns supreme, which inevitably begs the question: What are the highest-grossing films of all-time based on books?

To rank the highest-grossing films based on books, we used data compiled by Box Office Mojo. Inflation-adjustment was done by multiplying estimated admissions by the latest average ticket price—which in 2010 is $7.95—and where admissions were unavailable, adjustment was based on the average ticket price for when each movie was released, taking into account theatrical re-releases, which were very common for pre-1980 films (especially Disney animated features). So, without further ado, let’s raise the curtain.

1, Gone With the Wind

Based on: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Director: Victor Fleming
Released: 1939
Original box office gross: $198,676,459
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $1,606,254,800

2, The Sound of Music

Based on: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp
Director: Robert Wise
Released: 1965
Original box office gross: $158,671,368
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $1,132,202,200

3, The Ten Commandments

Based on: The Hebrew Bible
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Released: 1956
Original box office gross: $65,500,000
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $1,041,450,000

4, Jaws

Based on: Jaws by Peter Benchley
Director: Steven Spielberg
Released: 1975
Original box office gross: $260,000,000
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $1,018,226,600

5, Doctor Zhivago

Based on: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Director: David Lean
Released: 1965
Original box office gross: $111,721,910
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $986,876,900

6, The Exorcist

Based on: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Director: William Friedkin
Released: 1973
Original box office gross: $232,671,011
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $879,020,900

7, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Based on: Snow White by the Brothers Grimm
Director: David Hand, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen
Released: 1937
Original box office gross: $184,925,486
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $866,550,000

8, The 101 Dalmatians

Based on: The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman
Released: 1961
Original box office gross: $144,880,014
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $794,342,100

9, Ben-Hur

Based on: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace
Director: William Wyler
Released: 1959
Original box office gross: $74,000,000
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $779,100,000

10, Jurassic Park

Based on: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Director: Steven Spielberg
Released: 1993
Original box office gross: $357,067,947
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $685,336,400

11, The Graduate

Based on: The Graduate by Charles Webb
Director: Mike Nichols
Released: 1967
Original box office gross: $104,901,839
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $680,292,600

12, The Godfather

Based on: The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Released: 1972
Original box office gross: $134,966,411
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $627,434,400

13, Forrest Gump

Based on: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Released: 1994
Original box office gross: $329,694,499
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $624,437,600

14, Mary Poppins

Based on: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers with illustrations by Mary Shepard
Director: Robert Stevenson
Released: 1964
Original box office gross: $102,272,727
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $621,545,500

15, Thunderball

Based on: Thunderball by Ian Fleming
Director: Terence Young
Released: 1965
Original box office gross: $63,595,658
Box office gross adjusted for inflation: $594,660,000

What other books became a box-office hit? Visit The Daily Beast to find out.