EXCLUSIVE: Columbia Pictures and Matt Tolmach pre-emptively acquired movie rights to The Diabolic, the just-published young adult sci-fi novel by S.J. Kincaid. Simon & Schuster released it last week. Tolmach will produce through his Matt Tolmach Productions banner, with David Manpearl exec producing. Colpix exec veep David Beaubaire will shepherd, with Tolmach exec Brad Zimmerman.

Novel is described as Red Queen meets The Hunger Games –– as the galaxy’s most fierce warrior, a humanoid teen masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court. When the power-mad emperor learned the young girl’s senator father is planning a rebellion, she is summoned to the Galactic Court to be turned into a hostage. The deadly humanoid assumes her identity and has an awakening as she deals with all the backstabbing and politics inherent in a crumbling empire.

Tolmach is currently producing the Jake Kasdan-directed Jumanji, starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, as well as the Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell and Kate McKinnon-starrer Rock That Body, both of which are in production. He’s also is executive producing Futureman, the Hulu series with Seth Rogen, James Goldberg and James Weaver.

Sony Pictures VP Literary Department Ryan Doherty brought in the book, and the author’s deal was made by Paradigm for Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.