EXCLUSIVE: Tapping into the lucrative Young Adult arena, Ivanhoe Pictures has acquired film rights to action-adventure novel The Walled City. The book by Ryan Graudin (All That Glows) was just published on November 4 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers. Described as The Hunger Games meets The Maze Runner, the story follows three teenagers as they fight to survive and escape a lawless, walled city. The town of the title is based on China’s Kowloon Walled City, an element that fits with Ivanhoe’s focus on North American and Asian markets. The book is not yet published in China. It is sold in UK, France, Germany, Norway and Portugal as of now.
Ivanhoe’s John Penotti, Kelly Carmichael and Josh Cohen are producing and overseeing development.
“Immediately after receiving an early copy of Ryan’s thrilling novel we couldn’t put it down. Ryan has created such an exciting and inventive world with rich characters and an evocative setting that we know audiences will really connect with”, says Ivanhoe CEO John Penotti. “Ivanhoe is committed to bringing new emerging voices, and captivating stories to the burgeoning Chinese film industry and Ryan’s beautiful, modern, and edgy novel firmly supports that commitment.”
“The Walled City is a genre-defying novel that was like a breath of fresh air, unlike anything I had read before,” says Little Brown Books for Young Readers VP and Editor in Chief, Alvina Ling.
The deals were negotiated by Tracey Adams (Adams Literary) and Stephen Moore (Paul Kohner, Inc.) on behalf of Ryan Graudin and Brian Kornreich on behalf of Ivanhoe Pictures.
Ivanhoe was formed in 2013 and eyes production opportunities that bridge North American and Asian film and TV communities. Last year, it entered a $130M co-financing pact with Fox International Productions, concentrating on select local language pictures in China, India, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The company also has a deal in partnership with Blumhouse Pictures and India’s Phantom Flims to produce a slate of 10 Hindi language genre films. Ivanhoe is also partnered with producer Nina Jacobson to finance and produce Kevin Kwan’s comedic bestseller, Crazy Rich Asians.