There’s some obscure (and possibly occult) law that if enough people sob at a movie, their tears will fertilize a new film empire. It’s why James Cameron stopped making regular action movies and started putting out three-hour epics like Titanic and Avatar, all designed around jerking as many tears as possible. This would also explain the alleged reports that Cameron showed up during random screenings of Titanic to dab at people’s tears with a wad of hundreds and chuckle menacingly to himself.
Nicholas Sparks did the same thing with The Notebook. He got the requisite number of sobs, and now he’s set for life. Along with this year’s The Best of Me and next year’s The Longest Ride, yet another film based on one of his novels is now in the works. Variety reports Sparks’s novel “The Choice” will be adapted into a feature by Ross Katz, whose new film Adult Beginners premieres next week at the Toronto Film Festival (Katz’s first feature, for anyone curious, is the 2009 HBO movie Taking Chance, in which Kevin Bacon escorts home the body of fallen soldier). Here’s how Variety describes the novel: “the story of a man and a woman who meet first as neighbors in a small coastal town in North Carolina and end up pursuing a relationship that neither could have foreseen.”
That’s the log-line for every Nicholas Sparks work in existence — small town, dreamy romance, horrifying unforeseen consequences — so let’s fill in the gaps. Our man is Travis Parker and our woman is Gabby Holland. They are, in fact, neighbors, but Gabby’s got a live-in boyfriend — this would be the twist we’re looking for. Travis pines for this extremely spoken-for woman, and over the years their relationship will blah blah blah then finally one of them suffers a slow and agonizing death by crushing when the World’s Largest Turnip rolls free from its support structure at the county fair.
Or something like that.
The Choice will likely take the Nicholas Sparks train all the way through 2016 (considering every year from 2012-2015 has a Sparks romance to call its own). But can this cycle continue? Can Nicholas Sparks and his plainly-titled Nicholas Sparks Productions continue to make a reasonable profit off the tears of innocents, year after year? Pretty much. The Choice is the 11th Sparks novel to get the film treatment, and he’s written 17. So even if he were to abstain from writing for the next decade, we’d still have enough material to make it through 2022 at the current rate. And there’s at least one more novel in the works, according to the author.
Not that we’re keeping score or anything, but Marvel only has their movies planned out until 2021. So if Sparks were to map his own work into an expanded universe (not that he necessarily should, but yes, he should), he could beat Marvel, Sony, Fox and DC at their own game. Think of the potential. Think of the crossover potential. I think we’re all dying to see an X-Men movie where Magneto tearfully whispers to Professor X on his deathbed that their love can do anything they want it to. And then Mister Sinister bursts through the door and the three of them shoot each other with energy blasts for 15 minutes.