On Friday, the movie The Maze Runner hits theaters. The big-screen version has been adapted from a book of the same title, written by James Dashner in 2007. Thanks to the movie—and perhaps contrary to what you might think—kids all over the United States are picking the book up before they see the film. According to data from Renaissance Learning more than 10,000 students read The Maze Runner last May, compared with fewer than 3,000 in 2011 when the movie deal was announced.
It turns out that movie releases do in fact spur kids to read the books they're based on. Just look at The Hunger Games, one of the more obvious example of the movie bump. In February of 2012, the month the movie was released, about 70,000 school kids read the book. In April, the month after the movie’s debut, 180,000 students were turning the pages of The Hunger Games. The same goes for The Lorax, which saw a huge spike in readership the month the movie was released. (In these graphs, the orange lines show the month the movie came out.)
Number of Students Reading The Hunger Games, by Month
Number of Students Reading The Lorax, by Month
The data behind these graphs comes from Accelerated Reader, a software program used by teachers to track the reading their students do both in and out of class. About a third of U.S. schools use AR—in total, the data here shows about 30,000 schools and about 10 million students. Last year those students read a grand total of 330 million books. It’s not a complete picture, showing reading by students in just a slice of the United States, but it still highlights some interesting trends when it comes to how movies impact readers.