EXCLUSIVE: Sony is having a love affair with writers Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton. After closing a $1M deal with the studio last year for a spec and a previous big pitch deal, the writing duo is sealing yet another agreement for a new pitch. And yes, it’s another mid-six-against-seven-figure deal on an idea described as “a heist with elements of fantasy.” The story is being kept under seal like its some kind of ancient Chinese secret.
It must have been a helluva pitch as Bryan Singer may come aboard to direct and produce the project along with producer Andrew Lazar at Mad Chance. Jason Taylor from Singer’s Bad Hat Harry Productions would produce as well with Singer. The executive who brought the project into Sony was Ange Gianetti.
The two writers previously sold its spec Winter’s Knight to the studio last year. That one is a Viking-mythology-tinged origin story about St. Nick and Christmas and it ended up at Sony after a good, old-fashioned bidding war that also involved Warner Bros. and Universal. Sony plunked down a whopping $1M for Winter’s Knight. And, earlier this year, Sony acquired their pitch The Wells Initative for another nice chunk of change — mid-six against seven figures. That one is a sci-fi/action adventure where a young H.G. Wells experiences the events that will one day inspire his famous novels.
Mad Chance has produced everything from Clint Eastwood’s critically acclaimed American Sniper last year which was a Best Picture nominee and has grossed a whopping $547.3M at the worldwide box office as well as the comedy Get Smart, which has a worldwide gross of $230.6M. Singer, of course, has directed the X-Men films — you know, the good ones. He just wrapped X-Men Apocalypse for Fox which is the studio’s big summer tentpole. It debuts on May 27th, 2016. He has also been tweeting about his dream project, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Yeah, well, who doesn’t love that one?
Singer is repped by WME and Bloom Hergott. Lustig and Thornton is repped by Circle of Confusion, WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Mad Chance is repped by CAA.