EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired A Meyers Thanksgiving, a spec script that David E. Talbert wrote and will direct, with Will Packer producing. The deal was mid-six figures upfront, but is seven figures for script and directing if the movie gets made. Those signs look promising: It is being fast-tracked to begin production in the fall, timed for holiday 2016 release.

Will Packer Courtesy of The Collins Jackson AgencyThe pic is a holiday themed comedy about an estranged family facing their first Thanksgiving together since the death of the family matriarch. Talbert, a prolific playwright, previously wrote and directed First Sunday and Baggage Claim. It’s his first film with Packer, who in October 2013 signed his Will Packer Productions shingle to an overall deal at Universal. He has been a hit machine, including the Ride Along and Think Like A Man franchises. As for the quick trigger on this film; I’m told that Universal expected another installment of its Best Man franchise, but the movie will take longer after helmer Malcolm D. Lee signed on to direct Barbershop 3. That created an opportunity, and Talbert’s spec hit the spot.

Talbert and Lyn Sisson-Talbert will be exec producers. Senior veep Kristin Lowe will oversee for the studio. Talbert and Packer are both repped by UTA and attorney Matt Johnson, and Talbert is managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.