After a truly major and heated bidding war involving studios, digital content streamers and financiers, the film rights to upcoming book Killers of the Flower Moon: An American Crime and the Birth of the FBI have been nabbed by Imperative Entertainment for an astonishing $5 million.
Imperative partners Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas will be producing the project. Imperative is run by Heroes creator Tim Kring, Friedkin, Thomas and Lauren Sanchez. The company, founded in 2014, is media agnostic, meaning it develops and produces content for film, television and digital.
David Grann, the author of Lost City of Z, wrote the book, which Doubleday/Penguin Random House will release. The true story is set in the 1920s when the Native American tribe in Oklahoma called the Osage Nation came into great wealth because of the oil beneath their land. When members of the tribe were killed off, the newly formed Bureau of Investigation undertook the case as its first homicide investigation.
Sources say nearly every studio and several production companies were going after the hot property, with bids getting into the seven figures. Among the bidders were Warner Bros. and Ratpac, Netflix and Scott Stuber, Sony with Amy Pascal and George Clooney, Palmstar and Paramount. Alex Garcia and Laura Walker’s AG Capital was also in the race.
Paramount had a bid in the $2 million range and a package that included J.J. Abrams as director and Leonardo DiCaprio as star, while Netflix was said have bid in the $3 million range, according to sources.
By ponying up $5 million, the deal puts Imperative on the player map but cannily does not rule out any of the talent attached nor any studio or streaming service out either, according to sources. Imperative can still partner with an Abrams or Clooney if it wanted to.
But what it does now get is a piece of material that can be developed multiple ways and has already proved to be an attractor of top-flight talent.
The deal was brokered by CAA.