Thursday, September 25, 2014

Universal Has Two-Year First Look Deal With Penguin Random House

Publishers Lunch

In the latest expansion of Penguin Random House's film/tv development efforts, Random House Studio has signed a two-year first-look production agreement Universal Pictures. Random House Studio, under the direction of president Peter Gethers, will serve as a producer on the projects developed and filmed under the agreement. Once again, UTA represented Penguin Random House in the deal.

Universal co-president of production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum says in the announcement: "Peter Gethers' ability to identify books that can be adapted into movies that can attract major talent makes his team a unique and invaluable addition to the Universal family." Universal is already readying release of movies based on Random House books including adaptations of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken and EL James's Fifty Shades of Grey, though those projects were acquired and developed outside of RH Studio.

RH Studio has had a relationship with Universal's specialty division Focus Features since 2005, and that deal was recently renewed through 2016. (In that deal, RH Studio develops, co-finances and co-produces in partnership with Focus.) In 2011, RH Studio started developing film projects with other studio and producing partners besides Focus (including Lay the Favorite, and a deal with Warner Bros. to develop Ross Macdonald's detective Lew Archer into a film franchise). Gethers tells THR of the new deal, "Universal has a broader mandate and the ability to get bigger projects and bigger authors."

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