Blumhouse Wins Bidding War for N.Y. Times Kidnapping Revenge Article

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Chernin Entertainment, Makeready, Thunder Road and Amblin plus studios Lionsgate TV, 20th Television and UCP — as well as HBO’s documentary division — were among the companies that were vying for the rights.

Coming out on top of a heated bidding war, Blumhouse, the production company run by prolific producer Jason Blum, has won the screen rights to the New York Times piece "She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One," a gripping and devastating story that personalizes the kidnapping epidemic in Mexico.

Production companies Chernin Entertainment (Ford v. Ferrari), Makeready (Queen & Slim), Thunder Road (John Wick) and Amblin, plus studios Lionsgate TV, 20th Television and UCP — as well as HBO’s documentary division — were among the companies that were vying for the rights. Sources say that up to 20 offers were made, including six-figure options and even seven-figure purchase prices.

The majority of rights chasers were said to be eyeing the material as a series adaptation rather than a feature. No decisions have been made on the format, according to sources. The producers are also intent on finding filmmaking talent with authentic voices to bring the real-life story to the screen.

The New York Times will also act as a full producer on the eventual adaptation with Blumhouse.

Written by Azam Ahmed and published Dec. 13, the piece chronicles the quest of a mother named Miriam Rodriguez, whose daughter was kidnapped for ransom in 2014. Despite paying the ransom, her 20-year-old never returned. With police and federal officials unwilling or too corrupt to investigate on cartel-affiliated kidnappings in her town of San Fernando, Mexico, Rodriguez had nothing to lose. Stalking social media, cutting her hair and disguising herself in identities ranging from a health worker to an election official, Rodriguez spent months tracking down every possible lead — and the kidnappers. Rodriguez's efforts led to the capture of 10 members of the local cartel.

The heartbreaking story is juxtaposed with a new and equally despair-inducing kidnapping, that of a 14-year-old boy in the same town that occurred in 2020, showing how things have and haven’t changed since Rodriguez went on a one-woman justice spree. In the story, Rodriguez becomes a hero, martyr and/or cautionary tale, depending on one’s perspective.

Ahmed is the Times bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, a position he has held since 2015. His work has earned him the Michael Kelly Award, a Polk Award and a James Foley Medill Medal, the latter recognition for courage in pursuit of a story.

Blum is known for his slate of scary movies, but when he has stretched his legs, he has produced prestige fare such as Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning Get Out, the Roger Ailes miniseries The Loudest Voice, and the recent, acclaimed series The Good Lord Bird.

Anonymous Content's Howie Sanders and Kassie Evashevski represent the interests and rights for film and television to New York Times journalism, past and present. Among the Times' projects in development for adaptation are The 1619 Project, at Lionsgate with Oprah Winfrey producing, and Nice White Parents, set up at HBO with Issa Rae and Adam McKay.

The journalist is repped by ICM.