18 book-to-screen adaptations to watch in the first half of 2020

Adaptations of Dolittle, Birds of Prey, The Call of the Wild and more are headed to screens this year.

Love adaptations inspired by books? These 18 productions are scheduled for the first half of 2020.

The Outsider

Based on: The 2018 novel of the same name by Stephen King

What it's about: Police detective Ralph Anderson encounters supernatural forces during his investigation into a young boy's murder. The 10-episode HBO miniseries stars Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo and Jason Bateman. 

Release date: Jan. 12, 2020


Based on: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle By Hugh Lofting (1922)

What it's about: Dolittle stars Robert Downey Jr. as the famed doctor and veterinarian of Victorian England who can speak to animals. Dolittle also features the voices of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes and Selena Gomez. The film is based on based on the classic character created by the late English author Hugh Lofting, which were first published in the 1920s.

Release date: Jan. 17, 2020

The Turning 

Based on: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

What it's about: The 1898 story about a nanny, two orphans, dark secrets and a mysterious estate is a moody ghost tale. The Turning stars Mackenzie Davis, Brooklynn Prince and Finn Wolfhard.

Release date: Jan. 24, 2020

The Rhythm Section

Blake Lively is an American actor. (Getty)

Based on: The Rhythm Section by Mark Burnell

What it's about: The Rhythm Section stars Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown and Blake Lively. It's a spy thriller involving a woman seeking to uncover the truth behind a plane crash that killed her family. The Rhythm Section is a 1999 novel by U.K. writer Mark Burnell.

Release date: Jan. 31, 2020

Birds of Prey 

Based on: The Birds of Prey comic book series by DC Comics 

What it's about: The movie's full title is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and features comic book characters Harley Quinn, Cassandra Cain and Black Canary as they face the villainous crime lord Black Mask. The adaptation stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ewan McGregor.

Release date: Feb. 7, 2020

P.S. I Still Love You 

Based on: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

What it's about: P.S. I Still Love You is the follow-up to the 2018 screen adaptation of Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before. P.S. I Still Love You adapts the second book in the To All the Boys trilogy. It stars Lana Condor, Noah Centineo and John Corbett and follows the complicated romance of teens Lara Jean and Peter.

Release date: Feb. 12, 2020

The Call of the Wild 

Based on: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

What it's about: This latest adaptation of the classic 1903 novel set in Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush stars Harrison Ford as John Thornton. It follows a domesticated St. Bernard/Scotch Collie dog named Buck who must learn to live in the wild when he is sold as a sled dog. 

Release date: Feb. 20, 2020


Based on: The Valiant Comics character and comic book series of the same name

What it's about:  Bloodshot is a comic book movie about a murdered man (Vin Diesel) who is revived as a vengeful superhuman solider thanks to futuristic technology. The thriller also stars Guy Pearce, Eiza González and Lamorne Morris.

Release date: Feb. 21, 2020


Based on: The 1815 novel of the same name by Jane Austen

What it's about: Directed by Autumn de Wilde and written by Eleanor Catton, this adaptation follows the exploits of Emma Woodhouse as she involves herself in the love affairs of those around her. The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular character and co-stars Johnny Flynn, Rupert Graves and Bill Nighy. 

Release date: Feb. 21, 2020

The Invisible Man 

Based on: The 1897 novel of the same name by H.G. Wells

What it's about: This science fiction psychological horror film adapts the classic tale about a man who devises a way to turn himself invisible. The 2020 update features Elisabeth Moss as a scientist who is driven to the brink of sanity as she tries to prove that her unseen stalker actually exists. The film also stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid. 

Release date: Feb. 28, 2020

New Mutants

Based on: The Marvel Comics characters and comic book series of the same name

What it's about: This superhero horror flick is an X-Men spin-off that follows five young mutants who find themselves struggling with their newfound abilities while confined against their will in a psychiatric facility. The film stars Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton and Alice Braga.

Release date: April 3, 2020

Peter Rabbit 2 

Based on: The stories of Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter

What it's about: This follow-up to 2018's Peter Rabbit continues the adventures of the famous rabbit. The live-action/computer-animated comedy film features live-action actors Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson and David Oyelowo and the voices of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley and James Cordon as the titular character. 

Release date: April 3, 2020

The Secret Garden 

Based on: The 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett

What it's about: This latest adaption of the classic children's novel explores the wondrous secrets within an old English estate by an orphaned child sent to live there with her uncle. The Secret Garden stars Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx as Mary Lennox,

Release date: TBA

The Personal History of David Copperfield 

Based on: The Victorian-era novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

What it's about: This adaptation of the 1849 novel premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and is slated for a theatrical release this spring. The film features Dev Patel as David Copperfield, Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick and Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood.  

Release date: May 8, 2020


Tom Hanks is an American actor, producer and screenwriter. (Getty)

Based on: The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester

​What it's about: Greyhound is set during the Second World War and stars Tom Hanks as a commander of a naval ship engaged in a battle of wits as he crosses the Atlantic Ocean with German U-boats in hot pursuit. The film is based on the 1955 nautical and war novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester, who is best known as the creator of fictional Royal Navy officer Horatio Hornblower.

Release date: May 8, 2020

The Woman in the Window 

Based on: The 2018 novel of the same name by A. J. Finn

What it's about: This psychological thriller stars Amy Adams as a woman in a small town who uncovers a secret while spying on her neighbours. The Woman in the Window also stars Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Julianne Moore. A. J. Finn is a pseudonym for American author and editor Daniel Mallory.

Release date: May. 15, 2020

Artemis Fowl 

Based on: The fantasy novel series by Irish author Eoin Colfer

What it's about: This science fantasy film follows 12-year-old super-genius and antihero Artemis Fowl II who embarks on a quest to find his criminal mastermind father who has mysteriously disappeared. The film stars Judi Dench, Josh Gad and Ferdia Shaw as the crafty main character. 

Release date: May 29, 2020

I'm Thinking of Ending Things 

The screen adaptation of Iain Reid's debut novel is rumoured to release in 2020. (Simon & Schuster Canada/Lucas Tingle)

Based on: The 2016 novel of the name same by Iain Reid

What it's about:  Canadian author Iain Reid's debut novel I'm Thinking of Ending Things has been adapted to a film for Netflix by Being John Malkovich screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. The psychological thriller follows a couple on a road trip to visit Jake's parents. Tension between the couple builds as Jake's partner considers ending their relationship — and is eventually left stranded on a rural road.

Release date: TBA


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