EXCLUSIVE: Paul Wernick & Rhett Reese, the scribes behind Zombieland and the X-Men spinoff Deadpool, next will craft a movie about the disastrous launch of New Coke, perhaps the worst product introduction since the Edsel. Last week marked the 30th anniversary of when Coca-Cola veered from the secret formula that had been around since the 1890s to unveil what the company hoped would be a new and improved drink for a younger generation. It went so flat it imperiled its venerable market-leading soft drink.
The scribes have used their own money to option the Thomas Oliver book The Real Coke, The Real Story. Oliver was the business reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution who covered the company closely when the so-called improved formula was introduced and summarily rejected by Coke drinkers. The duo will write the script and produce a period piece set in the vibrant ’80s that will convey how a perceived threat by No. 2 rival Pepsi driven home by a clever “Pepsi Challenge” marketing campaign led to corporate panic, even though Coke was outselling its rival 2-to-1.
Fox’s Deadpool, with Ryan Reynolds starring and Tim Miller directing, is in production for a February 12 release. WME reps the scribes, who also scripted G.I. Joe: Retaliation.