EXCLUSIVE: In what might be the last big material sale of the year, Skydance Productions has acquired in a pre-emptive seven-figure deal an untitled science fiction project based on an original idea by Shane Salerno, who is currently co-writing one of the three Avatar sequels for James Cameron at Fox. Salerno will write the screenplay, and Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce. Paul Schwake will be executive producer. Skydance confirmed the deal, but would not comment on its size or the film’s logline. “The second we heard Shane’s pitch, we immediately wanted to partner with him on this project,” Ellison offered. “We are thrilled to be on board.”

sal;power_of_dog_1Salerno wrote and directed the feature documentary Salinger, which was released theatrically by The Weinstein Company, and makes its TV debut as the 200th episode of American Masters on PBS. It airs January 21. A book by the same title that he co-wrote with David Shields based on the docu research became a bestseller. Salerno’s also in the middle of several high-profile producing projects including an adaptation of the seminal Don Winslow novel The Power Of The Dog, along with The Lock-Artist and another untitled script being written by Winslow and The Town‘s Chuck Hogan. Salerno is repped by CAA and Robert Offer.