Relativity nabs Nicholas Sparks' 'Safe Haven'

Company wins bidding war for movie rights to upcoming book

Relativity has won the bidding war to the movie rights for Nicholas Sparks' upcoming novel "Safe Haven," with Temple Hill's Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey the lucky producers attached.

Sparks' reps opened the bidding Monday afternoon, with Offspring, run by Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, taking the book into Disney and Fox; Temple Hill taking it to Sony and Relativity; and Di Novi Pictures, headed by Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan, handling Warner Bros.

Warners was thought to have been a front-runner since it's adapting Sparks' "The Lucky One," with Zac Efron circling the starring role, and plans a fall shoot.

But Temple Hill partnered with Relativity on "Dear John," which stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and grossed more than $110 million worldwide.

Relativity described Sparks' new novel as centering on "a young North Carolina woman determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships. As she begins to fall in love, she struggles with a dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her."

Relativity will become an active marketing force in "Safe Haven's" book launch. As part of the deal, Relativity will partner with Grand Central Publishing to support the book and will use its Rogue Network, its social site that the company says receives more than 50 million views a month, as part of the campaign.

Relativity will be self-distributing the film, which it's throwing on a fast track to production.

Relativity is proving itself to be aggressive in the marketplace, and the book deal follows the company's acquisition of the marketing and distribution operations of Overture Films.

Sparks is repped by UTA and the Park Literary Group.