Coelho said he has been reluctant in selling rights to his books. He believed that a book has a "life of its own inside the reader's mind", and seldom did he find an adaptation that lived up to the book. Despite this, with time, Coelho decided to open up the possibility.
In 2003, Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film adaptation of The Alchemist. The project stalled and the movie never materialized, reportedly because of problems with the script. At one point, the script had a battle sequence with 10,000 soldiers, which was "not what the book is about". Reportedly, Coelho offered US$2 million to Warner Bros. to buy back the film rights to The Alchemist.
During the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein announced that he had bought the rights to the film and will serve as its producer. Laurence Fishburne is set to direct, and to play the eponymous character. It will have a reported budget of $60 million. Weinstein, who rarely personally produces movies, stated that "My loyalty is not to Laurence [Fishburne], my loyalty is not to me, my loyalty is not to anyone other than Paulo Coelho." Coelho added, "I am very happy that my book will be filmed in the way I intended it to be and I hope the spirit and simplicity of my work will be preserved. I am excited my friend Laurence Fishburne and Harvey Weinstein will be working together."
HarperOne, a HarperCollins imprint, produced an illustrated version of the novel, with paintings by the French artist Mœbius, but failed to convince Coelho "to consent to the full graphic-novel treatment". In June 2010, HarperOne announced that it would publish a graphic-novel adaptation. The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel was published in 2010, adapted by Derek Ruiz and artwork by Daniel Sampere.
A theatrical adaptation of The Alchemist was produced and performed by the Cornish Collective, which is their most successful production to date. It was staged for the first time in India by Ashvin Gidwani Productions. Kajol and Karan Johar launched this book's theatrical adaptation in India.
In music, The Alchemist has inspired numerous bands of the same name. In September 2009, an orchestral performance was conducted at the Ansche Chesed Synagogue on the Upper West Side. Inspired by The Alchemist, "an orchestral performance" was composed by One World Symphony for composer and conductor Sung Jin Hong' wedding.