After several years of setbacks and renewed efforts to start production and a quarter of a century after the first book was published, the big-screen adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was finally shot. Pre-production began in 2003, filming began on 19 April 2004 and post-production began in early September 2004.
After a London premiere on 20 April 2005, it was released on 28 April in the UK and Australia, 29 April in the United States and Canada, and 29 July in South Africa. (A full list of release dates is available at the IMDb.) The movie stars Martin Freeman as Arthur, Mos Def as Ford, Sam Rockwell as President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, with Alan Rickman providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android (and Warwick Davis acting in Marvin's costume), and Stephen Fry as the voice of the Guide/Narrator.
The plot of the film adaptation of Hitchhiker's Guide differs widely from that of the radio show, book and television series. The romantic triangle between Arthur, Zaphod, and Trillian is more prominent in the film; and visits to Vogsphere, the homeworld of the Vogons (which, in the books, was already abandoned), and Viltvodle VI are inserted. The film covers roughly events in the first four radio episodes, and ends with the characters en route to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, leaving the opportunity for a sequel open. A unique appearance is made by the Point-of-View Gun, a device specifically created by Adams himself for the movie.
Commercially the film was a modest success, taking $21 million in its opening weekend in the United States, and nearly £3.3 million in its opening weekend in the United Kingdom.
The film was released on DVD (Region 2, PAL) in the UK on 5 September 2005. Both a standard double-disc edition and a UK-exclusive numbered limited edition "Giftpack" were released on this date. The "Giftpack" edition includes a copy of the novel with a "movie tie-in" cover, and collectible prints from the film, packaged in a replica of the film's version of the Hitchhiker's Guide prop. A single-disc widescreen or full-screen edition (Region 1, NTSC) were made available in the USA and Canada on 13 September 2005. Single-disc releases in the Blu-ray format and UMD format for the PlayStation Portable were also released on the respective dates in these three countries.