Will New 'Dragon Tattoo' Book Sequel Become a Movie?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Still - H 2015
Baldur Bragason

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Still - H 2015

Sony has rights to 'The Girl in the Spider's Web,' the fourth installment in the best-selling series, which hits bookstores in September.

This story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Lisbeth Salander may be back. The fictitious hacker soon will return to the page in The Girl in the Spider's Web, touted as the fourth installment of the best-selling Millennium series that kicked off with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But will the pierced protagonist also reappear on the big screen?

When she ran Sony, Amy Pascal negotiated for the studio's right to produce adaptations of the Millennium books, and sources say Sony also has rights to Spider's Web. Written by David Lagercrantz, not the original trilogy's late author, Stieg Larsson, the book is a continuation of Salander's exploits. Sony made David Fincher's 2011 Dragon Tattoo, which earned $233 million on a $90 million budget. But the studio has wanted to make the next film for significantly less than Fincher's version. So now there's talk of turning the second and third books into one film without Fincher and having Spider's Web close out the trilogy. But Pascal, who is transitioning from studio head to a producer on the project, doesn't like that idea, which would force her to shelve a Steve Zaillian script covering the second book, for which Sony paid mid-seven figures.

The participation of Dragon Tattoo stars Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig as well as producer Scott Rudin also is unclear. What's certain is renewed interest in the property: On March 31, U.S. publisher Knopf revealed the new book's title and Sept. 1 release date, sending fans into social media overdrive. Spider's Web will be published simultaneously around the world, with 500,000 copies made available in the U.S. alone. "The response to the announcement was extraordinary," says Knopf chairman Sonny Mehta. "The preorders on Amazon show that we've really gripped readers all over the place."