Sony gives Disney-driven literary films a second life


“We love our superheroes, but new intellectual property is also very important, and throughout Hollywood history literary intellectual property has always thrived,” said Thomas E. Rothman, president of Motion Picture Sony Group, in an interview. “This is an innovative way to give Sony early access to the authors of HarperCollins. Working with Elizabeth, who is a superstar, makes the writers not only feel comfortable, but also lucky.

Mr Rothman, who has orchestrated a turnaround at Sony in recent years, has beaten a competing bid from Paramount Pictures, which is working on its own comeback.

Ms. Gabler is expected to take half a dozen Fox 2000 projects with her. On August 9, Disney will release a completed film she left behind, “The Art of Running in the Rain,” based on Garth’s novel. Stein from 2008, which was published by HarperCollins.

Ms Gabler acknowledged that the box office had shifted to franchise shows in the Netflix era, making it more difficult for drama and book-based comedy to break through. But she rejected the idea that such films were no longer viable in theaters.

“A bestselling book attracts a lot of public attention,” she said, noting that Mr. Stein’s “The Art of Running in the Rain” has sold over eight million copies.

Ms Gabler previously worked for Mr Rothman, who resigned as chairman of Fox Film Group in 2012 after an extended period. HarperCollins, which is part of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, was a sister company of Fox at the time, but there was no official system for routing the books to the studio, Mr. Rothman said.

“I’ve wanted this equivalent of a Disneyland FastPass for a long time,” he said, referring to the new setup with HarperCollins.

One of the Big Five, HarperCollins has had several recent successes, including Rachel Hollis’ self-help books “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing”. In its recent earnings for the third quarter of fiscal 2019, HarperCollins announced a 29% increase in earnings compared to the same period in 2018.

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