The end credits for the film Instinct indicate that it is inspired by Ishmael. In Instinct, Anthony Hopkins plays an imprisoned anthropologist who is interviewed by a psychologist (Cuba Gooding Jr.).
Daniel Quinn did not approve of the script or movie before transferring the rights, which were transferred as part of the Turner Award. The movie and book share no common story elements, and the philosophical connection to the book is reduced to some pictorial format and a few seconds of on-screen dialogue.
Quinn had some input on the script, but states: "It was not an independent production, it was a studio production, which means the producers had to deliver the goods that presumably work at the box office. The studio (Touchstone) wanted action, violence, and conflict---not philosophy---and that's what they got. Those are the realities of Hollywood."
The movie received mostly poor or mixed reviews, MetaCritic giving an average rating of only 43. It was a financial failure as well. The film won a Genesis Award, an award that honors films that explore animal issues.