Curious about the books becoming movies in 2021? Although nothing is certain, here are the most likely books to movies of 2021.
Every year, I compile a list of books becoming movies, and every year it is a royal pain. Researching movie titles to see which are based on books and coping with ever-shifting release dates drive me nuts every year. Add in the prevalence of film and tv adaptations on streaming services, and it’s not an easy task.
That’s not even factoring in a pandemic.
With theaters mostly shuttered, movie release dates are shifting more than ever. I’d love to say that this is the definitive list of books that will be movies in 2021, but let’s face it. No one can foresee what the future will hold.
For your benefit, I’ve split my list of books to movies of 2021 into three sections. First, I’ve got all the books turning into movies in 2021 with an actual release date. After that, I’ve got my most likely 2021 film adaptation candidates, and then a list of projects under development. If we are lucky, we’ll see some of those this year.
If you love seeing your favorite books come to life on screen or want to discover some new books to read before they hit theaters (or Netflix), here is my list of the books to movies in 2021.
Books To Movies 2021: Definitely … Maybe
January 15, 2021 – Among the books being made into movies in 2021 is Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s story Peter Rabbit. Mixing live action and computer animation, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway takes Peter out of the garden into a world that doesn’t mind his mischievousness. Although the characters are based on Potter’s beloved stories, I don’t think they honestly have much in common.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Chaos Walking. January 22, 2021 – If you are a sci fi lover, you know the genre has a strong track record of amazing movies based on books. In the first book of the Chaos Walking series, we meet Todd Hewitt, the sole boy living in a town of men. In a society where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts, Todd can tell that the men of the town are holding something back. Then one day, he discovers something inexplicable in the woods: a girl. Starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, the film, titled Chaos Walking, underwent massive reshoots but is finally going to see the light of day.
Always + Forever, Lara Jean
January 22, 2021 – At the top of the list of YA books to movies in 2021 is Netflix’s final adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. After unwittingly sending out letters to all her past crushes at the beginning of the series, Lara Jean is now enjoying her senior year of high school. With a class trip to New York City, prom, her dad’s wedding, and then college with her boyfriend Peter, life couldn’t be better. That is, until unexpected events derail everything, forcing Lara Jean to choose between her head and her heart.
February 26, 2021 – Hollywood had loved doing book to movie adaptations of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, with such acclaimed actors as Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, and John Krasinski take the titular role. The latest Tom Clancy film features the backstory of another main character from the series. Before he becomes the infamous Mr. Clark, John Kelly is a Navy SEAL mourning the tragic death of his wife. After another woman he becomes involved with is brutally murdered by a drug ring, Kelly sets out on a revenge spree, determined to bring down the drug lords he holds responsible. Clancy’s books are always thrilling, but we’ll see how well Michael B. Jordan can bring John Kelly’s morally complicated character to life.
Two Kisses for Maddy
Fatherhood. April 2, 2021 – Matthew Logelin had a perfect life – married to his high school sweetheart Liz with a baby girl on the way. After a difficult pregnancy, Liz gave birth to a beautiful baby girl before dying suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. Matthew Logelin chronicles the first year of his daughter Maddy’s life as he navigates the joy and struggle of being a new father while grieving the death of his beloved wife. Probably one of the most emotional movies based on books in 2021, Fatherhood stars Kevin Hart as Matthew.
The Reincarnationist Papers
D. Eric Maikranz
Infinite. May 28, 2021 – Maikranz’s sci-fi thriller centers on the journals of Evan Michaels, a man plagued by hallucinations. Michaels begins to realize that his hallucinations are visions of a past life and discovers a secret society whose members can perfectly recall their past lives. The science fiction film adaptation, titled Infinite, stars Mark Wahlberg as Evan.
September 24, 2021 – Just in time for Halloween, on the list of horror books to movies in 2021 is Partridge’s dark story. In 1963, a small Midwestern town is awash with the rumors of the October Boy. Every Halloween, a gang of teenage boys wait for him to emerge from the cornfields with a butcher knife in hand, turning the hunter into the hunted. This year, Pete McCormick will do anything to be the one to face the October Boy.
October 1, 2021 – Meet Paul Atreides, the heir apparent to the House of Atreides. At the beginning of the novel, his family takes control of the desert planet Arrakis, the source of the most sought after commodity in the galaxy. But power like that breeds many enemies who will stop at nothing to take over Arrakis. Mixing politics, religion, and mysticism with a whole lot of adventure, Herbert sends you on an epic journey worthy of any science fiction reader. Science fiction aficionados have waited for years for a better remake of Dune, so this one could be huge if done well.
The Last Duel
October 15, 2021 – In 1386, a huge crowd gathers to watch “the duel to end all duels” – a no-holds-barred fight between two Medieval knights. The true story focuses on Jean de Carrouges, a Norman knight who returns from battle to his wife’s accusation that his best friend Jacques LeGris has raped her. King Charles VI’s court calls for a “trial by combat” where innocence will be determined by a duel between the two knights.
The House of Gucci
Sara Gay Forden
Gucci. November 24, 2021 – A look into the glitz and glam of the Gucci family, whose luxury good dynasty soared while the family itself collapses. After being forced out of the family business for poor business decisions, Maurizio Gucci is later gunned down by a hitman and his ex-wife is arrested. The film adaptation, Gucci, is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Lady Gaga.
December 22, 2021 – The clear favorite of the most-anticipated books turning into movies in 2021 is Kristin Hannah’s World War 2 drama. Set in a small village in occupied France, the story centers around two sisters. Forced to house a German officer in her home, the older sister Vianne Mauriac must decide, to protect her daughter, where exactly she should draw the line of being complicit with German demands. On the other hand, her younger sister Isabelle Rossignol feels committed to doing anything she can to resist the German occupation.
Possibly Books Becoming Movies in 2021
The Woman in the Window
A. J. Finn
Among the books to movies in 2021 whose 2020 release has not been rescheduled is one of 2018’s hottest books. This psychological thriller peeks into the life of Anna Fox, a New York City recluse who, spying on the family across the street, witnesses a shocking event. With its unreliable narrator and layers of secrets, The Woman in the Window will keep you guessing to the end. Hopefully, the movie can do the same, assuming it actually hits theaters in 2021.
In a far distant future, psychohistorian Hari Seldon has analyzed the cycle of history and realizes that after twelve thousand years in power, the Galactic Empire is headed toward collapse. A collapse that will spawn 30,000 years of Dark Ages. To prevent complete disaster and shorten this dark period, Seldon sets up Foundation – a planet on the edge of the galaxy to contain the best minds with the knowledge of humanity. At crucial junctures in history, Seldon has set up steps to sway the course of events to protect the fledgling Foundation. Considered one of the best science fiction books of all time, we’ll see how well Apple TV can adapt this classic series.
On September 11, 2001, as the world’s attention is focused on the unspeakable tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C., Tess DeNunzio’s sister Zoe is killed in a hit-and-run. In a letter written to Zoe, fifteen-year-old Tess grieves for her sisters and contemplates her place in the world. This coming-of-age drama is currently in post-production with a possible 2021 release date.
A retelling of the Bible story of Hosea set during California’s gold rush. Forced into prostitution as a child, Angel works in a California brothel and is extremely wary of men. When Michael Hosea is told by God that he should marry Angel, she doesn’t believe his innocent act. Yet, as he begins to win her trust, Angel begins to increasingly feel unworthy and comes to realize salvation only comes from God. This Christian drama is supposedly coming out in early 2021.
Nine Perfect Strangers
Marketed as the perfect spot to turn over a new leaf, Tranquilium House is a luxurious and remote health resort. Ready for a change, nine strangers gather together for their life-changing stay. Could these ten days of pampering, relaxation, and mindfulness have all the answers they are seeking? Or would it be better to leave this resort and never look back? Or is it already too late? The miniseries is due to release on Hulu in 2021.
The Best Book Club Books for 2021!
Movies Based on Books In Development
Gregory Maguire imagines the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, a misunderstood little green-skinned girl named Elphaba who was not as wicked as our preconceived notions tell us. Maguire’s book, which garners mixed reviews, inspired the hit Broadway musical which is the basis for the film. Wicked‘s 2021 release date was given to Sing 2, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer for this hit musical.
Killers of the Flower Moon
If you are looking for exciting new movies based on books, you should keep your eye out for this true crime story about the fascinating case of the Osage murders in the 1920s. After discovering oil on their land, the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma were among the richest people in the world at the time. Once the death toll surpasses 24 Osage, the newly created FBI takes up the investigation to expose an alarming conspiracy behind these notorious crimes. Filming was delayed until early 2021, so it’s likely Martin’s Scorsese’s film adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro won’t come out until 2022.
William Lindsey Gresham
The dark story of young Stan Carlisle: clever, ambitious, and ruthless. He begins work as a carny, becomes a mentalist, and eventually a successful spiritualist. The movie stars Bradley Cooper as Carlisle and Cate Blanchett as Dr. Lilith Ritter, the psychiatrist he teams up with to con people out of their money.
The Stars at Noon
In 1984, an American woman is living in Nicaragua under the Sandinista rule. She claims to be a reporter, but is she? And who is the American businessman she falls in love with? Johnson’s novel is currently being adapted into a film starring Claire Danes and Robert Pattinson.
The Power of the Dog
Following a large cast of characters: a DEA agent, a high-class hooker, an upright priest, heirs to a drug empire, and an Irish hitman, The Power of the Dog describes three decades of the United States’s War on Drugs. Ridley Scott is set to direct the film adaptation of the first book in Winslow’s bestselling series.
From the author of The Martian, comes a new science fiction adventure. Set on the titular lunar city, Artemis follows brash smuggler Jazz Bashara who has hatched the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme to help her pay her debts and get started on a respectable career. When Jazz is accused of murder, she finds herself caught up in a conspiracy for control of Artemis.
Daisy Jones & The Six
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s addictingly fun read about the rise and fall of a fictional 70s band was one of the best books of 2019. With sex, drugs, and plenty of drama, the book feels like you are watching a biopic on VH1 – but an extremely well-written one. Reese Witherspoon’s production snatched this one up right away, and it will be coming to Amazon in the future.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez
Another likely candidate for books into movies in 2021, is Márquez’s modern classic. Following seven generations of the Buendía family, whose patriarch José Arcadio Buendía founds the city of Macondo, Columbia, along a riverbank. For years, the town has little connection with the outside world until eventually is pulled into the politics of Columbia. Netflix has taken on the challenge of adapting this multigenerational family story to film.
Tiny Pretty Things
Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
A melodramatic teen series with a diverse cast of characters features three ballerinas at an elite Manhattan school willing to do whatever it takes to be the best. Gigi just wants to dance, though the very act might kill her. Bette is desperate to leave the shadow of her famous sister. And June must land the top spot this year, or her mother will pull her out. Originally slated to release in 2020, Tiny Pretty Things will likely come to Netflix soon.
Pieces of Her
How well do we really know our mothers? Andrea thought she knew everything about her mother – who lived a quiet life in their small beachside town. Until a trip to the mall erupts in violence, and shatters everything Andrea thought she knew. Before she was Laura, her mother was someone else, and Andrea must piece together the clues of her mother’s past.
Anatomy of a Scandal
When a government minister is accused of rape, a courtroom drama ensues. Sophie Whitehouse knows her charming successful husband James isn’t perfect. While she’s disappointed in his affair, she knows he couldn’t be capable of rape. On the flip side, Kate, the lawyer in charge of prosecuting the crime, is convinced James is guilty. Which one is right?
Which of the books to movies of 2021 are you most excited to watch?
Leslie @ She Reads Romance Books says
Great list Rachael! I completely agree that it was really tough to put together this type of list for 2021 given today’s world. Always and Forever, Lara Jean made my list of romance books to movies and TV series for 2021.
R. Davis says
Any comment on “Women Talking” by Canadian Miriam Toews and her collaboration with Frances McDormand?
I hadn’t heard of it, thanks for letting me know. I can tell you this list is by no means exhaustive. I try my best, but it’s really hard to keep up with the film industry.
Darn it! I ran across a post on IG or somewhere asking for list of books that were done well as movies. It may have been this or maybe not.
I just have to mention/and this is not new by any means, but To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was adapted for the screen by the late great Mr. Horton Foote. He won an Oscar for his efforts and the movie is sublime.