If you read J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit when you were young like me, you’ll remember that it was a relatively quick read. It was mostly hurried recollections of Bilbo that didn’t pause for long river barrel massacres or battles between a few armies. Peter Jackson’s adaption of the book, however, might at least feel a bit longer. Looking at the stats, Jackson’s trilogy is one of the only book adaptations in recent memory that have more minutes of movie than pages of source material.
Walt Hickey conducted this nerdy analysis over at FiveThirtyEight. To see how the Hobbit films stack up against other novel adaptations in Hollywood, Hickey sampled 54 popular films released since 2000 ranging from Harry Potter to The Bourne Identity. After finding a good figure for running time and page count (and where to split off books that spawned multiple movies), he produced the following chart:
So what did Hickey find? He puts it bluntly, “The Hobbit movies are the only films with more minutes of film than book pages.” In fact, with only 72 pages worth of material to work with in The Battle of the Five Armies, the latest Hobbit film has an “unprecedented” two minutes of movie for each page left in the novel.
Interestingly, it seems that Peter Jackson’s other Tolkien trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, is another statistical outlier. Despite the novels’ lengths, the movies still run much longer than the average.
You can see the full data set that Hickey compiled here.
For more about The Hobbit trilogy, check out yesterday’s episode of Nerdist News: Are More HOBBIT Films on the Way?!