In a competitive situation, Universal has picked up the rights to Outside the Box, an adventure project from Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky, the rising filmmakers behind the upcoming sci-fi thriller Freaks.
David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films, who have a first-look with Universal, are attached to produce the film.
While the studio is keeping the logline inside the box, the project is said to be a family adventure with fantasy elements in the tone of the movies made by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin banner in the 1980s.
The big sale of Outside, which the duo will write and direct, occurs ahead of this week’s release of Freaks, their buzzy feature that sold at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018 in a bidding war. The movie, starring Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern and Lexy Kolker, is set to bow Friday and tells of a young girl who may be more than she seems and who ventures out of the house she’s been locked in by her father. The indie has racked up several awards on the festival circuit and has garnered comparisons to early Spielberg films.
Stein and Lipovsky, who are repped by Verve, Ground Control and Lichter Grossman, have been busy while awaiting Freaks’ release, directing Disney Channel’s live-action take on Kim Possible and earning an Emmy nomination for their work on Disney XD hit Mech X4.
Mandeville is behind the period drama The Aeronauts, starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, which is coming off screenings at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. The company is known for its hits The Muppets and Beauty and the Beast.