EXCLUSIVE: Universal has stepped up to the plate to acquire Tommyknockers, a feature film package centered on Stephen King’s 1987 sci-fi horror novel. This is the project that has James Wan producing under his Atomic Monster banner with an eye to direct. Also producing is Roy Lee, Larry Sanitsky, the latter who executive produced the hit 1993 ABC miniseries based on King’s book, Michael Clear and Jon Berg.
The deal was struck in a bidding battle between Uni, Netflix and Sony, we hear, with Universal pulling ahead in the end. The package had been making the rounds and follows the current King IP resurgence that includes New Line/Warner Bros’ runaway hit It, which has spawned a sequel now in the works.
Tommyknockers centered on the residents of Maine town who come under the influence of a strange object discovered in the woods. It turns out to be part of an alien spacecraft, which emits a gas that infects those who are exposed to it, eventually leading to chaos that only one man may be able to stop. Jimmy Smits and Marge Helgenberger starred in the ABC mini.
The feature film version of It, based on King’s novel published the year before Tommyknockers, has grossed $700.4 million worldwide. The sequel has staked out a September 2019 release date. The latest King pickup comes as Paramount gets to work on its remake of Pet Sematary, with Jason Clarke circling to star.
The Nun, meanwhile, a spinoff from Wan The Conjuring, is next up in the Warner Bros/New Line franchise and set to hit theaters July 13. The first three movies in the Conjuring franchise grossed close to $900M, and the fourth film, Annabelle 2, opens August 11.
Wan and King are repped by Paradigm.