Thursday 27 October 2016

Brandon Sanderson's COSMERE universe optioned for film

DMG Entertainment has optioned the film and TV rights to Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere universe, currently consisting of eleven novels, a graphic novel and six novellas and short stories. Sanderson projects that there will eventually be around forty novels set in this universe.

DMG Entertainment - more correctly, DMG Yinji - is a massive Chinese multimedia and film company, founded by Dan Mintz, Peter Xiao and Wu Bing. It has been the prime driver in localising American blockbusters for the domestic Chinese market, even co-producing special versions of films with Chinese-exclusive scenes or Chinese actors, such as Iron Man 3 and Looper. This has allowed DMG to commit $270 million to a production pot. These envisage this to cover 50% of the production costs of the first three films to be covered by the deal. Presumably they will be looking for international companies (probably American) to come on board to provide the other half of the budget.

The first two movies to go into production will be based on The Way of Kings, the first Stormlight Archive novel, and The Final Empire, the first Mistborn novel. It's unclear what the third will be, but potentially Elantris, Warbreaker, White Sand or a sequel to one of the movies. Sanderson has received a chunk of cash under the deal for the rights up-front, plus additional amounts from production and release, which will see a substantial payday for the author even if the films are not successful.

Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who have worked on Saw franchise, will be adapting The Way of Kings. The Final Empire doesn't have a screenwriter announced yet. DMG plan to fast-track both movies, suggesting we could see them in 3-4 years rather than the much larger lead time you'd expect from such a deal. However, that will likely depend on international production partners being found quickly. Given DMG's immense profile and reputation, that may not be too difficult.

Sanderson has so far sold over 10 million copies of his solo work (also including a large number of non-Cosmere novels for younger reachers, such as the Alcatraz and Rithmatist series) and reportedly more than 12 million copies of his three Wheel of Time novels (derived from Robert Jordan's notes after he passed away in 2007). The Wheel of Time is also in development as a TV series with another company, although further details have not been released as yet.

This is great news for Brandon and his fans, although the strategy will likely leave some scratching their heads. The 600-page Final Empire is far too big for a single two-hour movie, but the 1,100-page The Way of Kings is simply unfilmable as a single feature. Either DMG are envisaging a drastic cut to the storyline, multiple films to cover a single book (with 10 books planned for Stormlight alone, this is unlikely) or possibly a movie or two dovetailing into a TV series later on.

Assuming that all of Sanderson's Cosmere works are covered by the deal, here is what they have the rights to:

Published Works
The Mistborn Trilogy
The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Secret History (novella)

Mistborn: Wax & Wayne
The Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning

The Stormlight Archives
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
Edgedancer (short story)

Other works
The Hope of Elantris (short story)
The Emperor's Soul (novella)
Shadows for Silence in the Forest of Hell (novella)
Sixth of the Dusk (novella)
White Sand (graphic novel series)

Unpublished Works
The Mistborn II and Mistborn III trilogies
6 novels

Mistborn: Wax & Wayne
The Lost Metal

The Stormlight Achives
Seven further novels 

Seven novels

Other works
Elantris II (and possibly a third book)
Warbreaker II: Nightblood (and possibly a third book)
The Silence Divine



Unknown said...

I actually think that "The Way of Kings" could very well be adapted into a single movie. While it is a long book with very detailed world-building, the central cast of characters is manageable and the storylines are really not that complex. (I didn't like the book that much; I had to labor through it to the finish because neither the characters nor the plot warranted a length of 1,000 pages in hardcover.)

Silent said...

You forgot the Eleventh Metal, which was a short story about Kelsier's origin story.

Ghost said...

Now if they can do something on the Reckoners series. Superheroes movies/TV is hot right now but for some reason no one is looking to adapt Superhero books for the media. "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman has been in development hell since 2008 and "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillian" by Richard Roberts is just begging to be made into a TV series.