A Sharp turn: HarperCollins partners up

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HarperCollins Publishers is forging its first partnership to develop and produce films based on its large collection of properties.

The publisher is forming a multiyear alliance with Hart Sharp Entertainment offshoot Sharp Independent called Sharp Independent at HarperCollins. The division will acquire film rights to existing and future HarperCollins titles to create new films, housed in HarperCollins offices and overseen by Harper/Morrow president and group publisher Michael Morrison.

The move makes sense for HarperCollins, which has had big success with film adaptations from such titles as "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "The Pursuit of Happyness." But SI head Jeff Sharp's screen adaptations in recent years have been disappointments at the boxoffice.

Sharp's reported $13 million all-star adaptation of the novel "Evening" earned $12.5 million this year, his reported $20 million adaptation of the Broadway hit "Proof" took in $7.5 million in 2005, his $6.5 million adaptation of "A Home at the End of the World" earned just $1 million in 2004, and his reported $10 million 2002 adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby" grossed $1.6 million.

Sharp's 2006 adaptation of HarperCollins' book "The Night Listener" grossed $7.8 million on a reported $10 million budget.

John Hart took the lion's share of Hart Sharp projects in development with him to his new company, Evamere Entertainment, when his alliance with Sharp ended in February.
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