As most of you already know, Spike Jonze’s adult vision of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s novel Where the Wild Things Are was the number one film at the box-office, racking up over $30 million. However, most critics agree that Jonze’s film was not appropriate for younger audiences (and certainly not the four-to-eight year olds the book was geared toward). The audience make-up reflected that: 43 percent of those who saw Where the Wild Things Are were 18 and older, and only 27 percent of moviegoers were comprised of families and their children.
The lesson: You don’t have to tailor your children’s books toward children to succeed. So, in that vein, I came up with eight more beloved children’s books that could be adapted for adults.
8. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Director: Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Road Trip)
Genre: Road Trip Comedy
The Pitch: Two teenagers, the summer after their graduation, travel the country and sleep with 26 women with first names that begin with every letter of the alphabet.
Tagline: “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed.”
7. The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood
Director: Edward Zwick (Defiance, Blood Diamond
Genre: Holocaust Drama
The Pitch: A Jewish family is unknowingly sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Members of the family continue to fall into an eternal sleep.
Tagline: “There is a house, a napping house, where everybody’s sleeping.”
6. Goodnight Moon by by Margaret Wise Brown
Director: Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012)
Genre: Apocalypse Thriller
The Pitch: Aliens destroy the moon and throw off its gravitational pull, resulting in the oceans destroying coastal United States.
Tagline: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon.”
5. Stone Soup
Director: David Fincher (The Game, Se7en)
Genre: Psychological Thriller
The Pitch: Three down-on-their-luck strangers enter a town, and after the townspeople initially refuse to help them, the strangers turn their poisonous soup into a deadly picnic.
Tagline: “I do like a tasty stone soup.”
4. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Director: Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow)
Genre: Surreal Horror Musical
The Pitch: Scored by Roger Waters and Danny Elfman, “Mickey in the Night Kitchen” is about three chefs whose secret ingredient is the blood of children.
Tagline: “We make cake and nothing’s the matter!”
3. Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey
Director: Roman Polanski
Genre: Erotic Drama
The Pitch: An underage boy prostitute named George explores the limits of his sexuality with The Man in the Yellow Hat.
Tagline: “Curious George Takes a Job”
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Director: Eli Roth (Hostel)
Genre: Comedy Horror
The Pitch: A killer caterpillar eats holes through its victims, and must collect twelve victims before transforming into a murdering butterfly.
Tagline: “On Wednesday, the caterpillar eats through three unsuspecting lawyers.”
1. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Director: Mitchell Spinelli (White Panty Chronicles, Taped College Confession)
The Pitch: A man with a very tiny penis must have sex with a succession of women with increasingly voracious sexual appetites.
The Tagline: “I Think I Can!”