Disney

19 Disney Channel Original Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

Time to update your reading list

If (like us) you grew up watching Disney Channel Original Movies on repeat, you can probably quote all of Halloweentown in your sleep. But you might not have noticed that many DCOMs were actually pulled from the page.

Several of our faves were books before films, including everyone’s favorite 21st-century girl, Zenon Kar. We’ve conveniently listed all of the DCOMs inspired by books below, so get ready to update your reading list.

  1. Disney

    Even though Disney Channel wants to pretend this isn’t the first-ever DCOM, we all know the truth. This movie is based on John Hoffman’s stage play of the same name about a woman who suddenly becomes her nephew's guardian after her brother dies.

  2. The Zenon films
    Disney

    Your favorite supernova girl comes from a series of children’s books by Marilyn Sadler, with illustrations by Roger Bollen. In the first book, there’s some kind of drama about a dog having puppies — instead of an entire space station getting blown to smithereens by an evil corporation.

  3. Disney

    The underrated DCOM about a boy who pleads for aliens to come and rescue him from Earth is based on Kathy MacKel’s novel. Two more books in the Mike Pillsbury series followed after the movie premiered.

  4. Disney

    The film surrounding a blended family of humans and aliens comes from Francess Lin Lantz’s book of the same name, written four years before Disney adapted the story.

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    Mary C. Ryan’s book about a boy who clones himself was written in the early ’90s, and was originally titled Me Two. The movie features Andrew Lawrence playing dual roles Will Browning and Twoie, though the book’s protagonist is called Wilf Farkus. What a name.

  6. Disney

    One of the more obscure DCOMs, The Jennie Project is based on Douglas Preston’s Jennie, a novel about a family who adopts a chimpanzee as a type of science experiment.

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    Ellen Weiss’s novel tells the story of two inventors who accidentally make themselves age backward at an alarming rate. Interestingly, The Poof Point is actually a sequel to Weiss’s book The Tiny Parents, which deals with the same inventors miniaturizing themselves à la Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.

  8. Disney

    The DCOM that stars Shia LaBeouf as a developmentally disabled boy stems from Janet Tashjian’s book of the same name. The novel is penned in the form of an online diary.

  9. Disney

    Written by Madeleine L’Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time, this story about dolphins in danger is from the fifth book in the Austin Family series.

  10. Disney

    Jackie French Koller’s book If I Had One Wish... inspired this DCOM about a brother wishing he’d never had a younger sibling. “The movie is VERY different from the book,” Koller writes on her website.

  11. The Cheetah Girls films
    Disney

    The film that gave us this catchy song and dance number comes from Deborah Gregory’s book series. There are 16 books total, and the first one is titled Wishing on a Star.

  12. Disney

    There are 10 books in the T*Witches series, written by H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld. They follow the exploits of twin witches who were separated at birth.

  13. Disney

    The DCOM that stars both Danielle and Kay Panabaker is based on Julia DeVillers’s novel, How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller.

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    Meg Cabot’s book of the same name tells the story of a girl whose new school is a reincarnation of Arthurian times.

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    The DCOM that’s kind of a Breakfast Club musical comes from Mark Peter Hughes’s book. Hughes followed up Lemonade Mouth with Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up five years later.

  16. Disney

    The Sarah Hyland DCOM stems from the mind of Robin Palmer, who wrote the book about a popular girl working with a nerdy boy in 2009.

  17. Disney

    Alexa Young’s three-part Frenemies series inspired this movie starring Shake It Up! stars Zendaya and Bella Thorne.

  18. Disney

    Debby Ryan’s DCOM about a shy girl who’s secretly a popular DJ is based on Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph. In the novel, however, Ryan’s character goes by the DJ name Sweet T instead of Radio Rebel.

  19. Disney

    Leslie Margolis’s Annabelle Unleashed series jump-started Zendaya’s movie about a girl commanding boys like dogs. The first book was appropriately titled Boys Are Dogs.