Disney and Harvey Weinstein are buryng the hatchet to develop a film adaptation of “Artemis Fowl,” Eoin Colfer’s best-selling book series about a 12-year-old criminal mastermind. Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal will executive produce the project they brought to Weinstein at Miramax shortly after the books first came out.
Colfer's series, which spans eight novels, has been printed in 44 different languages and sold more than 21 million copies. Michael Goldenberg, who wrote "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," will adapt the first two books for the first movie, but there is no doubt Disney is hoping this will turn into a multi-film franchise.
When the first "Artemis Fowl" books hit shelves in 2001, it drew immediate comparisons to the ongoing Harry Potter series given the youthful but witty protagonist.
"With its balance of mystery, adventure and family appeal, Artemis Fowl is a natural fit for Disney,” Sean Bailey, Disney's president of production, told TheWrap. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with Harvey on this exciting project.”
It will strike many as odd that Weinstein and Disney would team up — given that the Weinsteins left Miramax after contractual disputes with Disney in 2005. Years later Bob and Harvey tried to purchase Miramax — named after their parents — but Disney sold to Colony Capital instead.
Weinstein acknowledged the unusual reunion in a statement.
"If you would have told me five years ago I would be producing a project with Disney I would have thought you were crazy,” Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, said. “I feel as though everything is coming full circle considering Bob DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal brought me this book while I was still at Miramax and within hours I told them I wanted the rights to the film.
"This is a special project for me because my children absolutely love this book. This story is for everyone and there is no one better than Disney to make a film that will excite people young and old.”