EXCLUSIVE: How often do you see a package hit the marketplace and receive bids from every major studio? Try never, but that’s what has happened tonight with Josh Gad and writer-director Jeremy Garelick, who are out with an ambitious pitch for an untitled musical comedy that will have Oscar winners Alan Menken writing the music and Stephen Schwartz writing the lyrics. And they’ve got seven-figure offers from Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros’ New Line (because of the bang-up job it did with Hairspray), Sony Pictures, Fox and Universal.
The story was co-written by Gad and Garelick, who worked together on The Wedding Ringer, which marked Garelick’s feature directorial debut and which he co-wrote. Timing is fortuitous for this auction being conducted by UTA (which reps Garelick), ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment Partners (which reps Gad) and Richard Kraft (who reps the composers). Tonight marks the premiere of The Comedians, the heavily hyped FX series that Gad stars in with Billy Crystal. Gad’s experience in musicals includes starring in the original Broadway production of The Book Of Mormon. Garelick will write the script and direct the new stage musical feature.
Menken and Schwartz have impeccable cred. They shared an Oscar for the animated film Pocahontas, and Menken has a total of eight on his shelf for films that include Disney’s Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Beauty And The Beast. Schwartz, best known for the stage musicals Pippin and Wicked, also won an Oscar for The Prince Of Egypt. Garelick’s scripting credits include The Break-Up.
This one should go quickly in a splashy deal with strong progress to production language. Stay tuned.