Posted on 15 October 2009.
So here is an interesting story, and (as a mother) one that’s close to my heart, Forbes has declared its pick of who made it to list of Most Successful Children’s Book Characters In Hollywood.
The biggest cross-platform success is Shrek.
Yep, the big, green ogre has been a box office blessing for DreamWorks, spawning three films that earned an average of $343 million each at the American box office and a thriving franchise.
Although William Steig’s 1990 book never became a leading title, the film’s popularity propelled several movie tie-in books to land on the category’s bestseller list.
In second place on the Forbes list of most successful screens stars from children’s literature is Dr. Seuss’ legendary character the Grinch.
The green creature with a heart “two sizes too small” was introduced to generations of children and adults in 1957 in the pages of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which has sold over 3.5 million copies since.
The character became a big-screen star in 2000, portrayed by Jim Carrey. The film earned $260 million at the domestic box office.
Rounding out the top three is Larry Daley from Night at the Museum.
Milan Trenc originally published the story as a picture book in 1993, to be followed in 2006 by a bestselling, novelized version penned by Leslie Goldman.
The film version and its sequel, starring Ben Stiller as Larry, the hapless father who becomes a night guard at the American Museum of Natural History, earned an average of $214 million at the domestic box office.
To compile its list of the most successful children’s book characters on the big screen, Forbes considered movies released after 1980 based on children’s books with prominent lead characters.
Adaptations of young adult fiction–for the over-12 set–were not considered.
Rankings are based on domestic box office earnings; in instances involving one or more sequels, box office results were averaged in order to gauge the overall “star power” of each children’s character.
(While the production of a sequel is a clear indication of a character’s proven financial potential, an increase or decrease in popularity is evident using an average, rather than cumulative box office totals.)
So why does Hollywood continue to churn out kid-fiction films?
With steady ancillary revenue from coloring books to sleeping bags to adult T-shirts, classic characters bear incredible brand value.
Check out more at Forbes.