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Universal Acquiring ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’; Warner Bros. Picks Up ‘Rise’; Screen Gems Expanding Short Film ‘Viral’

Written by on December 14, 2011 

When we reported that Paramount was close to picking up the fantasy novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone, it seemed as though they’d be sealing the rights in no time. Even if it was ever-so-briefly mentioned that this was “attracting the attention of a few other studios,” I didn’t think anyone else was snatching it. Paramount was the top bidder, and this business is always controlled by the top bidder.

Well, silly me — we’re now being told by THR that Universal has come in and made Laini Taylor‘s novel their business. A smart move on their part; they’ve yet to get in on the young adult franchise game, and the interest of studios is a sign that there’s something profitable here. Will it be good? People like it, but that doesn’t tell me it’s going to make a quality motion picture. We’ll know in good time.

There’s additional acquisition news circulating in Hollywood, one of which comes from Deadline. They report that Warner Bros. are taking a chance on David Karlak‘s Rise, a pitch that was created with Saw scribes Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. Lawrence Grey, Roy Lee, and Underground will produce; unfortunately, plot information isn’t being given out at the moment, except for the fact that it’s in the action and sci-fi realm. But that could mean anything.

Finally, THR brings the news that Screen Gems will be adapting the short film Viral for a feature — a practice many studios have been keen on lately. The piece was made by recent UCLA graduate Tim Shechmeister — also co-written with his brother, Matt — and they’ll be scripting the film for the studio, while the former will direct.

It’s said to be “set in the world of cyberbullying,” and “could be described as being reminiscent of The Grudge or The Ring, but primed for the current generation that uses smart phones and Facebook as extensions of themselves.” Grudge writer David Susco took notice of the short, which he brought to, of all people, Roy Lee and Lawrence Grey; the three of them are now producing. So long as there’s no Japanese ghost children, we should be good.

How do you feel about Universal landing the rights to Smoke and Bone? Do these recent acquisitions interest you at all?

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