EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks Studios has acquired the John Connolly trilogy of novels for middle-school readers as a possible new franchise. The three books are The Gates, The Infernals and The Creeps which follows young protagonist Samuel Johnson and his loyal dog (a Dachshund) Boswell as they battle the forces of darkness starting days before Halloween as the gates of hell open at a house owned by Mrs. Abernathy. As they travel on their journey, they meet a vast array of characters, including dwarfs, police officers, demons and a man who sells ice cream — all of whom help them in their battle for good.
In The Infernals, Johnson has won over the dark forces but has fallen in love with the wrong girl but can’t worry too much about that as he is hunted down by Mrs. Abernathy. With his smarts and strategy and some friends, like his demon friend Nurd, they are able to rise above the darkness once again. The Infernals was published under the title Hell’s Bells in the UK.
The last of the trilogy is The Creeps, Johnson’s band of helpers has grown to two demons, a monster and a handful of dwarfs as he is lured into being the guest of honor at an event that is not all it seems.
Connolly is based in Dublin and is an Irish journalist who also authors kids books. These three books were published from 2009 to 2014. Sources said DreamWorks is out to writers now to adapt the first book in the trilogy.
The acquisition of the Connolly books come at a time when the entire industry continues to look for franchises that could appeal to a four quadrant market. That has been the goal of executive Michael Wright who arrived at DreamWorks a year ago with the intention of bringing in movies that harken back to Spielberg’s Amblin brand. And he’s been doing a great job.
DreamWorks recently brought in Michael Crichton’s techno-thriller Micro as well as the sci-fi action comedy Alpha Squad 7 with Duane “the Rock” Johnson attached to star. In addition, his first purchase was the sci-fi thriller Intelligent Life with Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, Star Wars: Episode IX) attached to direct from a script that he and his writing partner Derek Connolly scripted. Frank Marshall attached to produce both Micro and Intelligent Life. Also in the hamper is the time-travel adventure film Stealing Time, also from Trevorrow which Tim Dowling (Pixels) is scripting.
Connolly is repped by APA and Darley Anderson Literary Agency.