We told you two nights ago that buyers were circling. Now the eagle has landed. Tom Hanks comedy A Man Called Otto has sold to Sony in a record EFM worldwide rights deal pegged around $60 million.
Sony has taken global rights to the red-hot package from CAA Media Finance and is lining up a wide domestic theatrical release this Christmas, we understand.
Buyers have been clamoring for this one heading into the virtual EFM. There were multiple big offers on the table from studios, indies, and a couple of streamers, but ultimately it came down to Sony vs. international buyers in a close-run thing. In terms of EFM records, the deal moves past the $55M Netflix paid last year for Christian Bale thriller The Pale Blue Eye. A big reason Sony got the film is its continuing commitment to theatrical. A Man Called Otto will open year-end on around 2,000 screens.
The project is due to begin this month on location in Pittsburgh. STX International was aboard for international sales, and CAA Media Finance repped domestic alongside Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark.
Tom Hanks Is Joined By Several Other Stars
Joining Oscar winner Tom Hanks in the feel-good comedy adaptation of the Scandinavian hit A Man Called Ove are Mariana Treviño (Overboard), Rachel Keller (Legion), and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (6 Underground).
As we revealed earlier this month, Marc Forster will direct the SF Studios project, which is adapted from the Fredrik Backman novel and original Oscar-nominated 2017 Swedish movie written and directed by Hannes Holm. The titular character has been renamed to reflect the U.S. setting.
The film will follow Otto (Tom Hanks), a grumpy, isolated widower with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse who gives everyone in his neighborhood a hard time as he watches over it like a hawk. Just as it seems like he’s finally given up on life, an unlikely and reluctant friendship develops with his new neighbors. Little by little, Otto undergoes a subtle transformation.
The new script comes from two-time Oscar nominee David Magee (Life of Pi) who also will executive produce. A Man Called Otto sees the pair reuniting for the first time following their successful collaboration on the acclaimed Finding Neverland. Magee also earned an Oscar nom for that 2004 pic.
Fredrik Wikström Nicastro (A Man Called Ove) of SF Studios is producing the film with Rita Wilson (Mamma Mia!), and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Marc Forster and Renée Wolfe will serve as executive producers via their production company 2DUX2 (World War Z). SF Studios is financing the project.