EXCLUSIVE: We told you two nights ago that buyers were going in circles. Now the eagle has landed. Tom Hanks comedy A man called Otto sold to Sony in a record EFM worldwide rights deal for approximately $60 million.
Sony has taken global rights to the scorching package from CAA Media Finance and is preparing for a wide domestic theatrical release this Christmas, we understand.
Buyers are clamoring for this one in the direction of the virtual EFM. There were several big deals on the table from studios, indies and a few streamers, but ultimately it settled between Sony and international buyers in a tight deal. In terms of EFM records, the deal exceeds the $55 million paid by Netflix last year for the thriller Christian Bale pale blue eye. One of the main reasons Sony got the movie is because of its continued commitment to cinema. A man called Otto will open at the end of the year on approximately 2,000 screens.
The project is scheduled to begin this month onsite in Pittsburgh. STX International was on board for international sales, and CAA Media Finance took over the market alongside Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark.
Join Oscar-winning actor Hanks in the feel-good comedy adaptation of the Scandinavian hit A man called Ove are Mariana Treviño (At the sea), Rachel Keller (Legion) and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (6 Underground).
As we revealed earlier this month, Marc Forster will helm the SF Studios project, which is adapted from the novel by Fredrik Backman and the original 2017 Oscar-nominated Swedish film written and directed by Hannes Holm. The titular character was renamed to reflect the American setting.
The film will follow Otto (Hanks), a grumpy, isolated widower with dedicated principles, strict routines, and a short fuse who gives everyone in his neighborhood a hard time by watching him like a hawk. When he seems to have finally given up on life, an unlikely and reluctant friendship forms with his new neighbors. Gradually, Otto undergoes a subtle transformation.
The new script comes from two-time Oscar nominee David Magee (Pi’s life) who will also serve as an executive producer. A man called Otto sees the couple reuniting for the first time after their successful collaboration on the famous Finding Neverland. Magee also earned an Oscar nomination for this photo from 2004.
Fredrik Wikstrom Nicastro (A man called Ove) from SF Studios is producing the film starring Rita Wilson (Mama Mia!) and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Marc Forster and Renée Wolfe will serve as executive producers through their production company 2DUX2 (World War Z). SF Studios is funding the project.
“What an incredible constellation of all-star talent: Tom Hanks in an iconic role and an outstanding director in Marc Forster; standout producers in Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro; exquisite screenplay by David Magee; a worldwide bestselling book; and our longtime partner, SF Studios,” said Tom Rothman, president and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, confirming the deal for Deadline. “Elizabeth Gabler, myself and Sony have had the privilege of working with all of these giants before, but this time around we feel like we’ve hit the lottery.”
Says Nicastro: “Tom and Elisabeth’s passion for the material and the vision of how to create a global theatrical event blew us all away. We couldn’t be more excited for Otto to find a home with our friends at Sony.
Said Wilson: “We are delighted to partner with Sony, which has always shown its commitment to films and filmmakers. In this era of so many ways to be entertained, we applaud Sony’s commitment to theatrical exposure.
The deal was brokered for Sony Pictures by Jon Freedberg, EVP Content Strategy & Business Development, and Joe Matukewicz, Head of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ Stage 6 Films. CAA Media Finance, Linda Lichter of Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman and Craig Emanuel of Paul Hastings negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.