EXCLUSIVE: The billion dollar worldwide gross of Alice in Wonderland has turned public domain fairy tales into the hottest segment of an otherwise sluggish script marketplace. In the latest deal, Relativity Media has made a preemptive acquisition of The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, an edgy 3D re-imagining of the German folk tale written by Melisa Wallack. Wallack’s script work includes The Dallas Buyer’s Club, and she wrote and directed the 2007 Aaron Eckhart-starrer Bill.
The deal has aggressive progress to production stipulations in the preemptive deal and I’m told the writer will make low seven-figures if the project gets made. ICM repped the writer. The Brothers Grimm: Snow White will be produced by Bernie Goldmann (who produced Meet Bill), Ryan Kavanaugh and Brett Ratner, with Tucker Tooley exec producing and Rat Entertainment exec John Cheng also involved in a producing capacity. Ratner previously got Kavanaugh to acquire the Sundance Film Festival documentary Catfish, and most recently Skyline, the scifi alien invasion thriller directed by Greg and Colin Strause which sold at Cannes.
Deal follows an upfront seven-figure Disney pitch deal for Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna to script a re-imagining of Cinderella. Disney also is moving quickly on The Great and Powerful Oz, with Adam Shankman and Timur Bekmambetov circling. Sam Mendes just dropped out of consideration, but there is rumor that Guillermo del Toro might meet on the project now that he’s free of The Hobbit. Warner Bros and New Line each have version of Oz that are based on the public domain books by L. Frank Baum.
All of the incarnations of Snow White are based on the German folk tale, but this one hews closely to the distillation by the Grimm Brothers.
“This is not your grandfather’s Snow White,” Ratner said. “Melisa went back to the 500 year old folk tale and put in some of the things that were missing from Walt Disney’s film. His dwarves were miners, and here they are robbers. There is also a dragon that was in the original folk tale. Walt made one of the great movies of all time, but ours is edgy and there is more comedy. The original, made for its time, was soft compared to what we’re going to do.”
Said Kavanaugh: “This is a project we’ve aggressively pursued and believe in. We love Melisa Wallack’s script and her fresh take on the classic story we all grew up on. This film will bring together fans of the original fair tale and draw new audiences who enjoy adventure films.”