Sony picked up Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs' comedy Move That Body, described as The Hangover meets (Script Pipeline favorite) Weekend at Bernie's with female leads in a bidding war. Blumhouse and Madhouse have teamed to produce Free Fall. The thriller, written by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker, follows an estranged father and daughter clinging to a mountainside after an accident, making it a literal cliffhanger. 21's Allan Loeb sold Collateral Beauty, a drama about a depressed ad exec, with Rooney Mara and Hugh Jackman attached to star. Finally, Peter Scott's college comedy Parents Weekend is moving forward at Lotus Entertainment.
Other script sales:
- In the worst case of development hell ever. . . . Stanley Kubrik's Civil War drama The Downslope (originally written in 1956) is finally moving forward with Marc Forster attached to direct.
- Disney brought back Linda Woolverton to pen Maleficent 2.
- Marco Ramirez (Daredevil, Da Vinci's Demons) will adapt Akira for Warner Bros.
- Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) will adapt the nonfiction book Ashley's War for Reese Witherspoon and Fox 2000.
- Anya Kochoff-Romano and Lily Hollander will write the Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve sequel, Mother's Day. Garry Marshall to direct. Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, and Julia Roberts to star.
- Fox picked up Jason Micallef's (Butter) pitch for Shadows, a cryptozoological sci-fi/horror franchise.
- Syriana writer/director Stephen Gaghan to write and direct a Charles Darwin biopic for Disney.
The Library - Produced Scripts
Let's get this out of the way up front—National Treasure is not the best movie ever made. It probably doesn't even cut into the top 100 adventure movies.
The concept deserves all the eye-rolling it generates: Benjamin Franklin Gates (yes, that's really his name) races against a team of greedy mercenaries after discovering the Declaration of Independence boasts an invisible treasure map. However, National Treasure is just. . . fun. The creative team understood how goofy the underlying idea was (making well-placed jokes about it throughout) and played it as a tongue-in-cheek, family-friendly version of The Da Vinci Code. Substituting Christian lore with American history, scribes Cormac and Marianne Wibberley kept much of the structure intact. Gates (Nicolas Cage) jumps from city to city within the United States' original 13 colonies, discovering clues and artifacts that both advance the treasure hunt and provide interesting tidbits of American history. The script never takes the concept too seriously, and neither does Cage or the other actors, who include Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, and Christopher Plummer.
The script itself does many things right. The story begins relatively early on. By page 21 we know the goal (find the priceless, historical treasure), the antagonist (the mercenary who betrayed Gates and is also after the treasure), and the first major obstacle (how will they get to the Declaration of Independence?). The script also gives us a nice ethical dilemma to help us become invested in Gates' situation: since no government agency will believe him about the invisible map, he has to steal the Declaration of Independence himself before the mercenaries can, and in the process he becomes public enemy #1 for the FBI. Some of the plot points may strain credibility (the heist of the Declaration of Independence is just one example), but the Wibberleys do a good job of justifying the less-believable aspects. Most importantly, each character has clear goals, and their relationships are solid--the standout relationship is between Gates and his estranged father, Patrick Henry Gates, played by Voight. National Treasure didn't win any Oscars and definitely shouldn't have, but it's well-structured entertainment.