In a competitive bidding situation, Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired adventure fantasy spec script “Winter’s Knight” written by newcomers Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton. From Deadline:
After much back and forth Saturday involving Sony, Universal and a last-ditch overture from Warner Bros, Sony finally closed its deal for Winter’s Knight, the Viking-mythology-tinged origin story of St. Nick and Christmas. Sony emerged as front-runner when it agreed to pay $1 million to newbie scribes Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton, for the biggest spec sale of this year so far.
Also intriguing is how this movie will lengthen the movie credit resume of L. Frank Baum, best known for The Wizard Of Oz. The subject matter is his 1902 book The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus. Of course, Baum’s work has fallen into public domain, meaning anyone can pillage it for movie ideas. At the rate Baum is going, with all the Oz incarnations and now this work being turned into big money Hollywood films, he might end up spinning in his grave almost as fast as Shakespeare, long Hollywood’s most heavily exploited public domain wordsmith.
The spec script market continues a strong run that began in 2011. As far as pre-branded titles go, it doesn’t get much better than Santa Claus. Throw in Frank Baum and a new take on the subject matter, you’ve got the makings of a strong marketable story.
Lustig and Thornton are repped by WME and New Wave Entertainment.
By my count, this is the 12th spec script sale of 2014.
There were 11 spec script sales year-to-date in 2013.