EXCLUSIVE: In one of the biggest pitch deals of the year, Fox 2000 won an auction for Fruit Loops, the working title for a pitch that Ted Melfi will write and direct, with Chernin Entertainment producing. Fox 2000’s Elizabeth Gabler prevailed over three other studios to win the project in what will be a seven figure deal. The studio and Chernin just teamed with Melfi on , and Chernin produced St. Vincent, the Melfi-directed film that starred Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.
The logline is being kept under wraps, but I’m told that the film is in the vein of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. It all happened very quickly and Melfi’s reps at UTA closed the deal this afternoon. Universal, New Line and The Weinstein Company also chased the property. Fox confirmed they got it.
“We are honored and elated to continue our inspiring collaboration with Ted Melfi in association with Chernin Entertainment,” said Gabler. “This original story has the perfect blend of originality, comedy, and strong emotional throughlines – elements that are fundamental to Ted’s creative spirit. We are having an extraordinary experience working on Hidden Figures together and to be able to look ahead to the next film is a dream come true.”
Hidden Figures, based on the Margot Lee Shetterly book, tells the story of the black female numbers crunchers who were the unsung heroes behind the early NASA space launches. That film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons, and it will be released wide on Martin Luther King Day weekend in January.