Lionsgate Picks up Rights to the CHAOS WALKING Young Adult Novels

     October 3, 2011


Lionsgate is hoping it has a monster hit on its hands with the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel The Hunger Games.  Now the studio has pulled another book series from the young adult section of the store and will be adapting Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy.  Like Hunger Games, Ness’ books take place “in a dystopian future,” but Chaos Walking takes the adventure to a distant earth-like planet where human colonists become infected with a disease known as “The Noise” which causes all thoughts become audible.  The solution, of course, would be to use the Homer Simpson method and just loop the Meow Mix jingle in your head. Sadly, the colonists are Meow Mix-less, and  “in the ensuing chaos, a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race, and only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction.”

Hit the jump for the full press release.  No writer or director is attached at this point.  Doug Davison (How to Train Your Dragon) will produce.

chaos-walking-book-1-coverHere’s the press release:

SANTA MONICA, CA (October 3, 2011) – LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, announced today that it has obtained worldwide rights to develop, produce and distribute films based on the award-winning, best-selling and critically acclaimed “Chaos Walking” young adult novel trilogy by Patrick Ness.  The announcement was made by Lionsgate’s co-COO and Motion Picture Group President Joe Drake.  Doug Davison (THE DEPARTED, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, THE GRUDGE) will be producing through his Quadrant Pictures.

The Carnegie Medal winning books are set in a dystopian future with humans colonizing a distant earth-like planet. When an infection called the Noise suddenly makes all thought audible, privacy vanishes in an instant. In the ensuing chaos, a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race, and only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction.

“Although these stories are set in a critical time in the future, they speak volumes about what is happening all over the world today, and about the power of young people to challenge the status quo and change the course of our future,” saidAlli Shearmur, Lionsgate’s President of Motion Picture Production and Development, who will be overseeing the production for the studio, with Senior Vice President of Motion Picture Production Jim Miller.  “We feel privileged to be bringing these powerful and exquisite books to cinematic life.”

Critics have hailed the trilogy, which is published by Candlewick Press in the US and Walker Books in the UK, as “one of the outstanding literary achievements of the present century,” (The Irish Times), and described it as “furiously paced, terrifying, exhilarating and heartbreaking,” (The Sunday Telegraph.).  The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan recognizes the series’ gripping quality and broad appeal, saying “I would press the Chaos Walking trilogy urgently on anyone, anyone at all.”

But The Wall Street Journal makes the most apt reference given that the series has found a home at Lionsgate, noting that “With its dark tone, violence, and readerly fanaticism, the book belongs firmly beside Suzanne Collins’s work.” Lionsgate is also the studio behind THE HUNGER GAMES, based on Collins’s worldwide bestselling trilogy of the same name.

“A sense of urgency and momentum permeates these stories- it makes the books ones you can’t put down, and will make the movies ones you can’t miss on the big screen,” said Drake of his decision to acquire the adaptation rights.  “But apart from the story elements, the world in the stories is so vividly imagined.  These are books, much like ‘The Hunger Games,’ that we feel truly beg to be brought to life on film.”

The rights deal was negotiated for the studio by Rob McEntegart, the Motion Picture Group’s Senior Executive Vice President, and for the author by his agent Michelle Kass of Michelle Kass Associates in London and attorney Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson in LA.

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