DMG Entertainment has nabbed film and licensing rights to “Cosmere,” Brandon Sanderson’s interconnected series of acclaimed fantasy novels. The entertainment and media company has committed to spending $270 million, which will cover half of the money needed to back the first three movies made from Sanderson’s canon. That makes it one of the largest literary deals of the year. DMG beat out several interested parties for rights to the series. As part of the pact, insiders say Sanderson will receive a minimum guarantee on each film that is produced, as well as a rich backend, allowing the author to make millions.
The Cosmere series links the bulk of Sanderson’s writings, with DMG likening it to acquiring a comic book universe rather than a single book franchise. The books are a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy, and they unfold in a number of different worlds and time periods, but are unified by an intricate system of magic that drives the plots.
DMG is fast-tracking an adaptation of Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings,” the first in the author’s series, “The Stormlight Archive,” and has hired screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the writing team behind several “Saw” films, to adapt the book. DMG founder Dan Mintz will produce the film, with Sanderson and Joshua Bilmes serving as executive producers. DMG also intends on simultaneously adapting the first book in Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series. It has yet to decide on a screenwriter for the project.
Sanderson’s books’ global sales top 10 million copies, making him one of the few top-selling authors without a produced movie yet of his work.
“DMG is all about global entertainment brands built cinematically for the worldwide audience, and Sanderson’s library of present and future material provides one of the greatest story and character universes ever created,” said Mintz in a statement.
“The people at DMG aren’t just producers or financiers. They’re fans,” Sanderson said. “From the first moment we met, I knew they understood my vision and goals for the Cosmere, and I’ve been excited to work with them in bringing their vision for the universe to the screen.”
DMG has a publicly-listed Chinese arm, DMG Yinji, that gives it access to the world’s second-largest film market. It has been very active acquiring literary properties, recently nabbing Ken Liu’s “Grace of Kings” trilogy. The studio’s upcoming projects include John Curran’s political drama “Chappaquiddick,” the Felicity Jones and Nicholas Hoult thriller “Collide,” and the Ed Helms and Owen Wilson comedy “Bastards.”
Melton and Dunstan’s upcoming projects include”Scary Stories” at CBS. The pair also recently sold a pitch called “The Reckoning” to Paramount with Platinum Dunes Producing and Michael Chaves directing.
Tor Books is Sanderson’s publisher. He is represented by Debbie Deuble-Hill and Steve Fisher at APA, Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky, and attorney Matt Sugarman at Weintraub Tobin. Paradigm’s David Boxerbaum, Underground’s Trevor Engelson, and attorney Dave Feldman represent Melton and Dunstan.