Sony Acquires Script for Film About the 1980s Pepsi-Coke Rivalry for Nearly $1 Million

‘Cola Wars’ is written by Jason Shuman and Ben Queen

New Coke and a 1980s Pepsi vending machine
New Coke / 1980s Pepsi vending machine (via Wikimedia Commons)

Sony has purchased the film “Cola Wars,” focused on the intense rivalry between competing soda companies Pepsi and Coca-Cola, TheWrap has learned. The exact amount of the deal was not disclosed, but sources say it was for close to $1 million.

The film is written by Jason Shuman and Ben Queen. The studio has a longstanding relationship with Shuman as a producer. He is the co-creator and writer of the Apple series “Acapulco” and was the executive producer of the HBO drama “Winning Time.” He also produced the 2022 feature film, “To Leslie.”

Starting around 1975, the Cola Wars saw Pepsi and Coke fighting for dominance in popular culture. Pepsi Cola implemented the “Pepsi challenge,” focused on fans drinking both sodas in a blind taste test and finding Pepsi the victor, while Coca-Cola would bring in “New Coke” in 1985.

Queen is currently working on an adaptation of Naomi Novik’s “His Majesty’s Dragon,” a TV series for Fox. He was also the writer for the two “Cars” sequels for Pixar.

The nostalgia boom continues to roll, particularly looking back at popular marketing gimmicks. Amazon had a hit with the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon feature “Air,” focused on the making of the Air Jordan sneakers. Apple put out the Beanie Baby-centric story “The Beanie Bubble” last year and Netflix will be telling audiences about the origin of Pop-Tarts in May.

The “Cola Wars” news comes just three days after Sony announced a series of biopics about The Beatles. This will mark the first time Apple Corps Ltd. and The Beatles – Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the families of John Lennon and George Harrison – have granted full life story and music rights for a scripted film.

That project comes from Sam Mendes, who is set to direct, and will be composed of four films altogether. Each will follow a different band member’s perspective as the project attempts to tell the ultimate story of this storied music group. This project comes over 50 years after the band broke up and 40 years after Lennon’s death.

Deadline initially reported on this.


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