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Lionsgate has closed a complex multiplatform rights deal the pick up The Kingkiller Chronicle, the best-selling fantasy book series by Patrick Rothfuss.
The deal sets up the simultaneous development of movies, television series and video games with the goal to adapt the many stories across the mediums at the same time.
It also caps off interest and dealmaking that has gone on since mid-July, when Rothfuss met with studios such as Warner Bros., MGM and Lionsgate, among others, at Comic-Con.
Robert Lawrence, whose credits include 1990s classic Clueless as well as the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Rock Star and the drama The Last Castle, will produce. Lawrence was an early chaser of the Kingkiller series and stayed on the series even when it was temporarily set up at Fox Television.
Kingkiller chronicles the life and times of Kvothe, a magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.
The first book, The Name of the Wind, was published in 2007 and since then, the second novel as well as three novellas have sold more that 10 million copies. The books are said to be only behind Game of Thrones in terms of best-sellers in modern epic fantasy.
“Honestly, I’ve never been very interested in a straight-up movie deal,” said Rothfuss. “But Lionsgate was willing to work out something different, a multiplatform deal where they develop the films, TV series, and games simultaneously. That will give us the screen time to develop the characters and show off the world. What’s more, through this whole process, they’ve treated me with amazing respect. I never thought a studio would approach me as a creative partner who understands how stories work.”
Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-president Erik Feig and creative executives Jeyun Choi Munford and Jessica Switch will oversee the development on the film side.
Executive vp television Chris Selak will spearhead its development for television while the company’s president of interactive ventures & games Peter Levin will shepherd the gaming side.
“Pat Rothfuss’s imaginative storytelling, the spellbinding character Kvothe and the vivid world of Temerant in The Kingkiller Chronicle series have a passionate and savvy fan base and the potential to reach an even broader audience in adaptation,” said Feig. “It is rare that a property comes along with a world so rich and multilayered that it lends itself to exploration across film, television and video game audiences at the same time.”
Feig also said the books were not only unique to support multiple mediums but that the franchise “even demands multiplatform exploration.”
Rothfuss is repped by Jerry Kalajian of Intellectual Property Group, Matthew Bialer of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and Matt Sugarman of Weintraub Tobin.
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