Evidently unhappy with the zero-percent residuals trickling in from successful film adaptations of their properties, publishers in recent years have sought a variety of ways to nudge their shares of adaptation profits higher. But where Random House took the initiative in 2005 to offload Reservation Road and other forthcoming titles to the screen in a deal with Focus Features, today we're learning of an even more progressive strategy by Simon & Schuster: The publishing giant has a new packaging deal that will kick back 25% of revenues on adaptations of young-adult titles like its successful Spiderwick Chronicles. But that's not the forward-thinking part — anyone can sign on for a quarter of nothing; it's getting the green light that's hard. Which, shockingly, is where a misanthropic old friend of Defamer enters with one for the kids:
Simon & Schuster plans to test-drive the new deal with a middle-grade book series by the filmmaker David O. Russell, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2009. ... With a co-writer, Craig DiGregorio, Mr. Russell has written several drafts of a script for an Alienated film, which could be produced in tandem with the book series. The story is centered on two children who work for “an old tabloid that covers the world of freaks and aliens,” he said. “I always liked the idea of playing with the idea of transformation and alien nature and freak nature,” Mr. Russell said. “I just want it to be really fun and really funny and be really original. I think that’s the hardest thing to do.”
Himself the father of a 14-year-old son, Russell and Alienated no doubt yield extraordinary franchise potential — both as a tentpole dazzler and a true viral sensation in the Russell tradition, featuring more of the stroppy auteur's off-camera admonitions to his young talent that "I'm just trying to fucking help you! I worked on this thing for for three fucking years and I'm not gonna have some middle-grade cunt start crying about alien nature! Figure it out yourself! And you! Asshole! Too much ham! What are you, a fucking Lunchables?" And at least the unions can likely relax about payroll this time around. If this isn't a win-win, we don't know what is.