As we recently pointed out when we tackled movie novelizations that were actually worth the read, turning books into movies is big business. The entertainment industry likes its projects pre-vetted, and Hollywood in particular loves to add "Inspired by the novel many of you bought" or "From the mind of, you know, that guy whose book never leaves your bathroom" to anything it can.
And yet, not every book can be turned into a movie. There are various reasons why that might be. Sometimes a work is just too long and complicated to boil down to a reasonable-length film, or perhaps there just isn't enough of an audience no matter how much critical acclaim a novel might have. See Watchmen or Atlas Shrugged for good examples of literary works of genius that should've stayed on the printed page.
At first look, this list reads like one of the most awesome movies that should be made, but hold on because maybe you haven't really though it through.[jump]
Why We Want It: It's Tolkien. Sure, The Lord of the Rings had its flaws, such as throwing out concepts like character motivation and the idea that crossing Middle Earth takes any length of time in the last four hours or so, but it's also a landmark series of films that did the impossible and did it fairly well. Now The Hobbit is on its way in two parts to rekindle the magic. Clearly there's a market, and now an established cinema fanbase should be able to ease a production over any errors in artistic delivery.
Why It's a Bad Idea: The Silmarillion has some of the greatest stories Tolkien ever wrote, but it's basically the poofy elvish Bible...and the Old Testament at that. The best and most cinematic story arc in it is that of the Children of Hurin, and there you're talking about incest, fratricide and an ending so depressing it makes Hamlet look like Newsies. Any other story you tackle is going to run into the uncomfortable fact that one of the main tribes of elves, the Noldor, straight up committed a holocaust on their fellow elves three freakin' times, all in the name of recovering some jewels. You may remember that premise as the whole plot by Sauron in The Lord of the Rings.
How About Instead We Film: The Father Christmas Letters. Some people help their kids write letters to Santa, but Tolkien one-ups every dad in existence (except us because we linked Santa to Doctor Who) by having Santa write his children back about his North Pole adventures. Give this to Disney and watch the brilliance roll in.