Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors

Eric Ryan Anderson
Nat Wolff and John Green

The real superheroes of the industry right now? These writers — ranked in order of influence — whose books are source material for more than 300 movie and TV projects, have helped rake in billions in box office and revenue, and prove every day that originality, above all else, still matters

This story first appeared in the Dec. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

It is a golden age for book writers in Hollywood.

Take the holiday season’s movies and awards contenders. The most anticipated are adapted: Laura Hillenbrand’s (No. 10) Unbroken, Suzanne Collins’ (No. 12) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (scripted by No. 19 Nick Hornby) and the third installment of The Hobbit. (See the full list here.)

Authors are exerting more clout than ever, from Gillian Flynn (No. 7) scripting her Gone Girl adaptation to EL James’ (No. 4) close involvement in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Still others have had a profound influence on Hollywood’s tastes, with everyone wanting to make the next Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin (No. 3).

And then there’s J.K. Rowling (No. 1): No single creator has had so much influence on a megafranchise since George Lucas and the original Star Wars trilogy.

Authors are taking advantage of new outlets as well, with James Patterson (No. 8) developing his YA series Maximum Ride for YouTube and Stephen King’s (No. 2) 11/22/63 being adapted for Hulu.

For this ranked list, book sales, number of adaptations, other screenwriting and cultural impact were assessed.

Read more from THR's Power Authors issue:

Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors Revealed

Hollywood's 5 Most Powerful Comics Writers

Hollywood's Most Powerful Authors: 5 Writers to Watch

Ron Howard, left, and Nathaniel Philbrick (photo by Charlie Gray)