Shane Salerno’s JD Salinger Biography Eyes Global Windfall

EXCLUSIVE: It took Shane Salerno eight years and $2 million of his own cash to make his JD Salinger documentary and book. It’s paid off quickly: The Weinstein Company landed worldwide rights to the movie and will release it during Oscar season September 6, it will air on PBS’ American Masters in 2014, and Simon & Schuster scooped up the 700-page Salinger biography from Salerno and David Shields. All three deals were for seven figures, making it one of the richest-ever pacts for a feature docu. Now comes foreign book sales: I’m hearing the London Book Fair is hot over The Private War Of J.D. Salinger, which is not a companion to the movie but an oral biography featuring more than 100 never-before-seen photos and material not found in the two-hour film. Multiple six-figure advances are on the table in London, I’m told, and Simon & Schuster has already concluded at least one major overseas rights deal for the UK and Commonwealth — with Simon & Schuster UK — before rivals even arrived at the sales confab. The plan is to publish the book in the UK simultaneously with its September release in the U.S. Salerno will speak directly with other foreign publishers next week, and other deals could come from magazine serialization as well as a secondary push following the film’s big- and small-screen debuts. Overall, it’s possible global sales could reach into the several million dollars, putting the book in the black before it hits shelves, a rare feat in the current book business. The Salinger bio was repped by The Story Factory.

I can also shoot down a rumor: there will be no special footage of the film screening at the Cannes Film Festival, which unveiled its slate this morning. I’m told Salerno is still editing the movie around the clock, and he might even still be shooting footage if his Twitter feed is to be believed.

Salerno is repped by CAA and attorney Robert Offer.

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