In what is being described as an unprecedented partnership, Sony Pictures and book publisher HarperCollins have inked a first-look deal with former Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler and her entire Fox 2000 team, which includes Erin Sinimoff, Marisa Paiva, Nikki Ramey and Molly Saffron.
It’s unclear what the name of Gabler’s new venture will be, but it will be based on the Sony lot, and tasked with pursuing, developing and ultimately producing theatrical films and other content based on HarperCollins’ extensive catalog. It is a first-look deal, but if a project isn’t a fit for Sony, the deal allows Gabler and her team to make content for any streaming or television platform.
“For the past two decades our division has thrived by building a film slate based principally on adaptations of literary properties, both fiction and non-fiction,” said Gabler. “Our close collaborations with authors and their material gives us a tremendous advantage because the development process begins with a terrific story and great characters and even more so after publication, with the added bonus of audience pre-awareness. Additionally, when a film is in production and up through release, we collaborate closely with our authors, their representatives, and most importantly, the publishers, to maximize book sales in conjunction with the film. We have always felt that HarperCollins is part of our family and it is now an honor and a privilege to create a true partnership with Brian Murray and his amazing global team. The only person I know who could have made this a reality with Brian is my mentor, friend, and inspiration, Tom Rothman, and my team and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity to become part of the powerhouse that is Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
“No one in Hollywood has done a better job of bringing books to film than Elizabeth and her team, including many films based on HarperCollins titles,” said Brian Murray, president/CEO of HarperCollins Publishers. “As a company, we invest more than $300M in new works by authors each year. Now, through this partnership with Elizabeth and SPE, we will expand our investment in writers to include film, TV, and streaming opportunities, creating new possibilities for authors to have their books adapted and developed by the best literary team in history with the full support and capabilities of SPE. This partnership is consistent with News Corp’s broader focus to monetize premium content on a global scale across platforms. I am incredibly excited to blaze a new trail with Elizabeth and Tom Rothman at this time of tremendous opportunity and change in the business of storytelling.”
“I have been fortunate to work with Brian, Elizabeth, and her talented team in the past,” said Tom Rothman, chairman of SPE’s Motion Picture Group. “They are the gold standard at their respective jobs and I am overjoyed that we will all be working together in this very forward-looking partnership. Content creators need to find new and aggressive ways to move up in, and enhance, the value chain for authors, publishers, filmmakers, and studios alike, and we believe this alliance will offer many such new opportunities. Plus, let’s face it, no one makes more hits than Elizabeth. Trust me, I know.”
Until just recently, Gabler served as president of Fox 2000 since 1999, where she and her team produced Best Picture nominees like Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and Ted Melfi‘s Hidden Figures, as well as other films based on HarperCollins titles including Marley & Me, Love, Simon, and, most recently, The Hate U Give. In addition, Fox 2000 films include the adaptation of John Green’s blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars, and The Devil Wears Prada. Fox 2000 was also the studio behind hit family films such as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, the Percy Jackson movies, and the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise, as well as Ramona and Beezus and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Other Fox 2000 fare includes more adult-oriented titles, such as Man on Fire, Unfaithful and Walk the Line. Up next will be The Art of Racing in the Rain, which Disney will release on Aug. 9, as well as Joe Wright‘s The Woman in the Window, which recently moved to 2020.
Gabler is one of Hollywood’s most well-respected executives and her hiring is a coup for Sony, which reportedly beat out Paramount for her valued services. She has a long history with Rothman, and should be a welcome addition to the studio, which has been eagerly seeking new IP, having gone back to its library this year, reviving the Men in Black and Charlie’s Angels franchises.