Buyers Circling Tom Hanks Comedy ‘A Man Called Otto’ On Eve Of Virtual EFM


EXCLUSIVE: On the eve of the virtual EFM buyers are circling rights to Tom Hanks comedy A Man Called Otto, which is among the most sought-after packages in the market.

We understand there are multiple big offers for the project from streamers, studios and indie distributors, including an eight-figure offer that would mark a record domestic buy at the EFM.

While some buyers we’ve spoken to have griped about a scarcity of must-have packages at this year’s virtual event, Otto is among those that has their attention given Hanks’ involvement, the strong creative elements and the acclaimed original source material. We hear the budget is in the $50M range.

Hanks recorded a video message that was sent to buyers this week as deal-making was set to get underway.

The project is due to begin this month on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. STX International is handling international sales and CAA Media Finance is repping domestic alongside Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark.

Joining Oscar winner Hanks in the comedy adaptation of the Scandinavian hit A Man Called Ove are Mariana Treviño (Overboard), Rachel Keller (Legion) and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (6 Underground).

As we revealed earlier this month, Marc Forster will direct the SF Studios movie, which is adapted from the Fredrik Backman novel and original Oscar-nominated Swedish movie of 2017 written and directed by Hannes Holm. The titular character has been renamed to reflect the U.S. setting.

The film will follow Otto (Hanks), a grumpy isolated widower with staunch principles, strict routines and a short fuse, who gives everyone in his neighborhood a hard time as he watches over it like a hawk. Just as it seems like he’s finally given up on life, an unlikely and reluctant friendship develops with his new neighbors. Little by little, Otto undergoes a subtle transformation.

The new script comes from two-time Oscar nominee David Magee (Life of Pi) who will also executive-produce. A Man Called Otto sees the pair reuniting for the first time following their successful collaboration on the acclaimed Finding Neverland.

Fredrik Wikström Nicastro (A Man Called Ove) of SF Studios is producing the film with Rita Wilson (Mamma Mia!), and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Marc Forster and Renée Wolfe will serve as executive producers via their production company 2DUX2 (World War Z). SF Studios is financing the project.

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