When creating a movie from a story already well-known in another medium, those making it are often faced with a crippling dilemma. How true can we stay to the source material without risking a failure at the box office? It can be a very hard call for a director. On the one hand, FanDumb will cry "DarthWiki/RuinedFOREVER" should he change one iota of the source material, and he may find himself a victim of [[NeverLiveItDown the fandom's ire from then on]]. On the other hand, ''not'' changing a thing can result in either a very poorly-made movie or one that relies so heavily on the source material that people unfamiliar with the work will be completely lost.

The scale runs something like this:
* 5. Identical Adaptation: A movie in which next to nothing is changed. These rarely fare well outside the established {{Fandom}}.
* 4. Near-Identical Adaptation: A movie that changes the material just enough to gain a PG rating or be of reasonable length. Usually rereleased with a DirectorsCut.
* 3. PragmaticAdaptation: Probably the ideal rating. A movie that manages to capture the spirit of the original work, while at the same time, embracing the new medium. These are generally big hits.
* 2. Recognizable Adaptation: Still bears enough resemblance to its source material that it can be realized as an adaptation. May involve a SettingUpdate.
* 1. InNameOnly: Shares only the name and possibly the main characters.

The scale, however, is not set in stone, and often times, there is overlap. Also, TropesAreNotBad as any movie in any of these categories can become a great success. However, the further a movie falls from the center, the less likely that is.

This trope is usually applied to movie adaptations -- TheFilmOfTheBook especially -- although it can be applied to adaptations ''from'' movies as well, since other formats (books, comics, television series) have room for more material. See also TheProblemWithLicensedGames for the video game equivalent.

!Examples:

!! Type 5:
* ''SinCity''
* ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' anime
* ''MahouSenseiNegima'' {{OAV}}
* ''TheMaxx'' animated series
* ''Film/RosemarysBaby''
* [[Recap/DoctorWhoTVMTheTVMovie The 1996]] ''Series/DoctorWho'' TVMovie, when it's considered an adaptation
* Many film adaptations of stage musicals; excellent examples include:
** ''Theatre/MyFairLady''
** ''Theatre/FiddlerOnTheRoof''
** ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera''
** ''Film/TheProducers'' (2005 version)

!! Type 4:
* ''{{Literature/Holes}}''
* ''Film/ThePrincessBride''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings'' (Creator/RalphBakshi's adaptation)
* Some of the ''Film/HarryPotter'' films
* ''{{Film/Watchmen}}''
* ''BrokebackMountain''
* ''Film/{{Kick Ass}} ''
* ''Film/FightClub''
* ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]''
* ''Film/TheGodfather''
* The animated version of ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit''
* ''Film/ScottPilgrim''
* ''Literature/TheLittlePrince'' (1974 film musical)
* ''TheBlueBird'' (1976 film)
* ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird''
* ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}''
* ''Film/NationalLampoonsVacation'' -- Many of the characters' names were changed (only the father's name -- Clark W. Griswold, Jr. -- was retained), the number of kids was dropped from four (Missy, Patty, Mark, and an unnamed narrator) to two (Rusty and Audrey), and the film ends on a happier note (in the original short story, Clark travels to Hollywood, shoots Creator/WaltDisney in the leg, and was forced to go to jail while the rest of the family went home, while in the movie, he causes a ruckus at Walley World and gives a speech to [[MrAltDisney Roy Walley]], who lets him and his family have their day at the park).
* ''Literature/LifeOfPi''
* ''[[Literature/TheHungerGames CatchingFire]]''

!! Type 3: PragmaticAdaptation
* Manga/{{Akira}}
* Studio Ghibli's Anime/{{Arrietty}}, to the [[Literature/TheBorrowers original novel by Mary Norton]], making it the most faithful film or TV adaptation of the original books to date.
* {{Marvel}}'s many movie franchises
* ''Film/{{Batman}}''
* ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga''
* Some of the ''Film/HarryPotter'' films
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' (Peter Jackson's adaptations)
* Subverted with ''[[Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey 2001]]'', as both the book [[TheFilmOfTheBook and its film version]] were written in tandem by their respective authors.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn''
* The {{Novelization}} of ''RevengeOfTheSith''
* ''Series/TheWalkingDead''
* ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'' anime
* The first ''[[Film/TheNeverendingStory Neverending Story]]'' film
* The first ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' movie
* ''SuperDimensionFortressMacross: Do You Remember Love?''
* ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''
* ''Film/BeingThere''
* ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' has had three major adaptations that qualify: a [[Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory 1971 film]], [[Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory a 2005 film]], and a [[Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory 2013 stage musical]]. All of them put their own spin on the material, which is probably most obvious in how each finds a different way for the PinballProtagonist to "earn" their HappilyEverAfter beyond simply being the last kid standing in the tour group, as it is in the book. The 2005 and '13 versions also update the characters of Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee to keep in step with modern kiddie culture and technology.
* ''Annie'' (both the [[{{Film/Annie1982}} 1982]] and [[{{Film/Annie1999}} 1999]] versions)
* ''SonicX'' (Though the SonicAdventureSeries based arcs could go up to a 4)
* ''Film/TheColourOfMagic''
* ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' is debatable somewhere between 3 and 2.
* ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' is somewhere between 3 and 4. The first film is probably a 4 while the other 2 films are closer to 3.
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Coraline}}'' and wanted by the author of the book. If people wanted his story, they can read his book. The movie should have its own flavor.
* the ''Hangman's Curse'' movie. Its basic storyline is almost exactly the same, but the back story and characterization can differ wildly from the source material.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames''.

!! Type 2:
* Much of the DisneyAnimatedCanon (''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' and ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' especially)
* ''Film/HowToTrainYourDragon''
* ''Film/DragonballEvolution''
* ''DresdenFiles'' TV Series
* ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' TV Series
* ''Anime/HowlsMovingCastle''
* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' remake
* ''Cirque Du Freak'' based on the ''SagaOfDarrenShan'' books
* ''Series/LegendOfTheSeeker'', based of the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' series.
* ''Film/TheShining'', as directed by Creator/StanleyKubrick
* ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'', the 2003 anime adaptation of [[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist the manga by the same name]].
* Abridged version of ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofKsgMCyIXc Pinocchio]]'' by Phoenix Games
* ''Film/TheLastAirbender''
* ''Film/BatmanReturns''
* ''Film/LegendOfTheGuardians'' directed by Zack Snyder
* ''Film/{{Eragon}}''
* ''Film/TheNeverendingStory 2: The Next Chapter''
* ''Film/{{Thunderbirds}}'' (2004 movie directed by Johnathan Frakes. It visually looks like a live-action adaption of the television series, shares the same character names and usually their personalities. The movie however, changes the main disaster/rescue premise of the show to a LighterAndFluffier, SpyKids-esque romp. In order to support this genre change, [[AdultsAreUseless a number of main characters from the series are also given significantly less screentime]].)
* ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' (anime), though it occasionally goes up to three.
* First reports from translators claim that the 2011 LiveActionAdaptation of ''RanmaOneHalf'' starts here and may dip lower.
* ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth''
* ''TenchiUniverse'', as an adaptation of the first OVA arc, although it still has the spirit of the show. TenchiInTokyo isn't an adaptation, but if it was, it would be somewhere between Type 1 and Type 2.
* ThePowerOfOne movie
* ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames the game]] and ''Bionicle Heroes''.
* ''Anime/SonicTheHedgehogTheMovie'' (Although it is usually considered to be a fairly good adaptation of the spirit of the games)
* ''TheKingAndI'' (1999 animated adaptation -- {{Disneyfication}} completely warps the storyline, but the familiar songs are still there)
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' (1939)
* ''TheSecretOfNIMH''
* The animated version of ''WesternAnimation/TheReturnOfTheKing''
* ''Fanfic/TheCalvinverse''
* ''[[Film/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians The Lightning Thief]]''
* ''{{Series/Sherlock}}''

!! Type 1:
* "AlteredStates"
* ''CheaperByTheDozen''
* Studio Ghibli's ''TalesFromEarthsea''
* ''Film/{{Catwoman}}''
* ''{{Shrek}}''
* ''Film/TheRunningMan''
* ''Film/EllaEnchanted''
* ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen''
* ''Film/{{Jumper}}''
* ''Film/PeterBenchleysCreature''
* ''StuartLittle''
* ''Film/TheNeverendingStory 3: Escape From Fantasia''
* ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'' (Ironically the third movie uses more scenes from the books, despite not being based on one)
* ''TheNutcrackerIn3D'' (To both the book and ballet)
* The ''Film/SuperMarioBros'' movie and ''TheSuperMarioBrosSuperShow''
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers''
* ''BubblegumCrisis Tokyo 2040''
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'', ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatam'', and ''SonicUnderground''
* The {{Universal|Horror}} and HammerHorror takes on ''{{Dracula}}'' and ''{{Frankenstein}}'' (shading a bit into Type 2 for the Universal version of ''Dracula'').
* Most of the ''Film/ResidentEvil'' films. Interestingly enough, George A. Romero wrote a script that probably would have been a Type 3 of the first game, but his script was passed on by Paul W.S. Anderson. And the rest is history.
* ''Film/TheLawnmowerMan'', so much that StephenKing even took legal action to remove all of his associations with this film.
* ''Film/{{Carnosaur}}''. The plot has almost nothing to do with the book, and none of the same characters.
* ''Film/TheCatInTheHat''

!! Special Cases:
* ''Simon Birch'', the film adaptation of ''Literature/APrayerForOwenMeany'', goes from Type 1 to Type 5 '' as the story progresses'', passing through almost every type along the way.
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