Sony has acquired the worldwide rights to “A Man Called Otto,” a comedy starring Tom Hanks that’s an English-language remake based on the Swedish book and film “A Man Called Ove,” an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
A source says the film sold in the range of a $60 million deal, which would rank it among the highest deals ever out of the European Film Market.
Marc Forster is attached to direct the film, and David Magee is writing the script based on Fredrik Backman’s book. Ove has been renamed Otto for the Americanized film version of the story.
Hanks plays the title character Otto, who is a grumpy isolated widower with staunch principles, strict routines and a short fuse, and 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… but is he really capable of change?
Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo will star alongside Hanks.
The book “A Man Called Ove” was a bestseller, sold seven million copies and was translated into 40 languages, spending 77 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list.
And the subsequent movie was nominated for two Oscars, including for Best International Film. And it even brought in $3.4 million at the domestic box office as the highest-grossing international film in the U.S. that year.
Fredrik Wikström Nicastroof SF Studios is producing the film with Rita Wilson, and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Marc Forster and Renée Wolfe will serve as executive Producers via their production company 2DUX2. SF Studios is also fully financing the project, and Magee is also executive producing.
“What an amazing all-star constellation of talent: Tom Hanks in an iconic role and an exceptional director in Mark Forster; outstanding producers in Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro; exquisite screenplay from David Mcgee; a worldwide best-selling book; and our long-time partner, SF Studios,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group. “Elizabeth Gabler, myself and Sony have had the privilege of working with all of these giants before, but this time we feel like we hit the lottery.”
“Tom and Elizabeth’s passion for the material and vision for how to create a worldwide theatrical event blew us all away. We couldn’t be more excited for Otto to find a home with our friends at Sony,” Nicastro said.
The deal was negotiated for Sony Pictures by Jon Freedberg, EVP, Content Strategy & Business Development and Joe Matukewicz, Head, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ Stage 6 Films. CAA Media Finance, Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark, and Craig Emanuel of Paul Hastings negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.
Deadline first reported the news.