EXCLUSIVE: The dry spell for material ended today with the first multi-studio auction for a hot book this year. It ended when Paramount Pictures acquired the rights to Dry, the thriller novel by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman. Six bidders chased this book and sources said the deal was worth six against seven figures, plus a six figure fee for the authors to write the script. Temple Hill’s Isaac Klausner and Marty Bowen will produce, along with Trevor Engelson.
Written by National Book award winning bestselling author Neal Shusterman (whose Challenger Deep is set at Chernin and Scythe at Universal) and his son Jarrod, the novel revolves around a topical premise. The book begins when a California state sponsored deal for diverted water falls through and the water mains in Southern California run completely dry as a crippling drought hits. Stores of bottled water last only a matter of days, and the government can’t mobilize fast enough to provide water for its 23 million citizens. A group of teenage friends are forced to band together when chaos breaks out in their community, and what ensues is a frightening survival scenario.
Paramount bid for Temple Hill; Sony and Warner Bros for Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer; Netflix for Matt Reeves and Adam Kassan’s 6th and Idaho to produce with The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Makeready also bid early on.
Engelson’s Underground and APA began sharing the book late last week and things took off from there. Engelson is also producer on Shusterman’s other book properties.