EXCLUSIVE: During a film slate presentation to European exhibitors at CineEurope in Barcelona, Paramount chief Jim Gianopulos revealed that his studio has closed a deal to finance and distribute Killers of the Flower Moon, the non-fiction book by David Grann that has Martin Scorsese attached to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio to star, with a script by Eric Roth.
Imperative Entertainment partners Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas acquired the project in a stunning $5 million deal back in 2016, before the publication of Grann’s book by Doubleday. Interestingly, Paramount was a runner-up in that auction, bidding for Bad Robot’s JJ Abrams and the late Steve Golin of Anonymous Content, for DiCaprio to star. Abrams’ overall at Paramount has since expired and he is closing a $500 million overall at WarnerMedia for film and television, but Paramount ends up with the property, after all. Friedkin & Thomas are producing with Sikelia Productions’ Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions.
The book is a murder mystery, set in 1920s Oklahoma, where the Osage Indians were granted revenue rights to oil discovered under their lands that was harvested by oil companies. Suddenly, they began to get murdered as did those trying to investigate. It came down to the newly created Bureau of Investigation, to overcome the corrupting influences from oil money and politics to solve the murder mystery, one that would bring the FBI to prominence.
As the studio resuscitates it own franchises — promising footage of Top Gun: Maverick was shown to exhibitors today, and Gianopulos also said that a new Paranormal Activity is in the works — Paramount has been aggressive in bringing in packages, most recently gambling on the Elton John film Rocketman, with Taron Egerton playing the singer and Dexter Fletcher directing. That film made a splashy debut at Cannes and has so far grossed $134 million worldwide on a $40 million budget.
30WEST arranged the deal for Imperative.