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The Most Popular Shows and Movies on Netflix are Adapted From Books

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Movie studios and streaming service executives are always on the hunt for the next book to adapt into a successful franchise. Adapting from a book means you don’t have to start from square one: the plot and characters are already fully fleshed out. It’s a lot easier to carve away the parts you don’t want from a story than to have to build it from scratch. These adaptations also often come with a built-in fanbase eager to see how their favorite novel translates to the big (or small) screen.

It’s worth noting, though, that book-to-movie adaptations aren’t just common — they’re also some of the most successful shows and movies out there. Netflix recently released the second edition of its What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report, sharing the most-viewed TV shows and movies on Netflix in the second half of 2023.

Leave the World Behind cover

The most-viewed movie of the second half of 2023 was Leave the World Behind, adapted from the novel of the same name by Ruman Alaam. It stars Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, and Myha’la Herrold, and it got 121 million views, making it the most-watched title overall.

The most-viewed TV show was One Piece, adapted from the long-running manga series by Eiichiro Oda — or, arguably, adapted from the anime that was adapted from the books. One Piece is the bestselling manga of all time, with more than 500 million copies in circulation of its more than 100 volumes. The Netflix adaption got 71.6 million views.

Other adaptations among the most-viewed titles include The Witcher, Gossip Girl, Heartstopper, and more.

You can read more about the most-viewed TV shows and movies on Netflix in 2023 at Variety.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.