EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has won an auction for screen rights to The Cruel Prince, the new fantasy novel by The Spiderwick Chronicles author Holly Black. Michael De Luca will produce through his Michael De Luca Productions banner. The novel, which will be published in January by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, is the kick off to a fantasy novel series the author is calling Folk of the Air. The Cruel Prince follows the journey of a human girl who is abducted into a world of violent, dangerous faeries, and must scheme to ensure her escape and survival. It has flourishes of Alice in Wonderland and Pan’s Labyrinth. Kristin Lowe will oversee the project on behalf of Universal and Lucy Winn Kitada for De Luca.
Black’s novels have sold over 12 million books globally, perhaps the most famous of which is The Spiderwick Chronicles. That one was turned into a 2008 Paramount film that grossed $162 million in global box office. Black is repped by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media for publishing, Pouya Shahbazian for film and Ziffren Brittenham LLP.