EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures won an auction for movie rights to Aru Shah and the End Of Time, a young adult novel by Roshani Chokshi that debuts this Sunday in the No. 2 slot on The New York Times Bestseller list for young readers. The studio sees the potential for a franchise that is a cross between Wizard of Oz and Coco, with a touch of Night at the Museum. Karen Rosenfelt is producing.
The auction came down to Paramount and Netflix, both drawn by the global appeal and a magical premise that could launch a franchise. The title character is a 12-year old girl of Indian descent who lives at an annex of the Museum of Ancient Indian Arts and Culture and is known to lie to her classmates at a rich Atlanta private day school to get them to view her traditional wardrobe as something exotic and not freaky. While most of her boasts are flat out fibs, the one that isn’t is the one most intriguing to classmates. Aru tells them she owns a cursed lamp that can end the world, despite her mom’s warnings of lighting the Lamp of Bharata in the Hall of Gods. When several classmates come to her doorstep to dare her to light her lamp, the young girl cannot help herself. Out comes the Sleeper, a figure also known as the Lord of Destruction, who’s determined to end the world unless the youth can stop him. The novel brings to play the largely untapped world of Hindu mythology and its figures who are deployed to help the young heroine on a journey replete with contemporary pop culture references and an exploration of karma and reincarnation. The youth becomes proficient with the bow and arrow as well.
Rosenfelt’s credits include Twilight Saga and Percy Jackson. It is believed that Hasbro’s Allspark Productions will become involved as well. The novel is the first from Rick Riordan Presents, the new Hyperion imprint spearheaded by the author of the Percy Jackson series.
The deal was made on behalf of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency by Hotchkiss & Associates.