Yellow Bird gets rights to 6 Marklund novels

Novels feature criminal reporter Annika Bengtzon

LONDON -- Swedish production house Yellow Bird has secured movie adaptation rights to six novels featuring the criminal reporter Annika Bengtzon penned by best-selling author Liza Marklund.

The plans for the movies mirror Yellow Bird's ongoing projects to turn Stieg Larsson's critically acclaimed Millennium trilogy into big screen outings.

Yellow Bird producer Jenny Gilbertsson told THR the company would initially produce Swedish language movie versions based on Marklund's six books before deciding on English language outings.

The company has adaptation rights to six titles: "Studio 69," "Prime Time," "The Red Wolf," "Nobel's Last Will," "Lifetime" and "A."

Marklund's Bengtzon's series of eight books have sold more than nine million copies internationally and have been translated into 30 languages. Liza Marklund is currently working on the ninth book in the series.

The upcoming movie series is in the early stages of development with filming aiming to start at the end of 2010 with an estimated budget of approximately $14 million.

"The opportunity to adapt Liza Marklund's books is a dream come true for us. Annika Bengtzon is such a fantastically composed main character -- both endearing and unnerving in her dedication to her work. We're delighted that we now have the opportunity recreate these great stories to their full potential on the big screen," said Gilbertsson.

Yellow Bird, which recently opened a subsidiary in Germany, is producing a trio of feature films and six TV dramas based on Larsson's trilogy and 13 new Swedish movies about Henning Mankell's criminal inspector Wallander.

The Swedish production house is also involved in making a further three English-language Wallander TV movies with Kenneth Branagh with the U.K.'s Left Bank Pictures, the first of which premiered on BBC1 here in the winter of 2008 with a healthy six million viewers tuning in.