Lucasfilm has lost the rights to Children of Blood and Bone, and now Paramount Pictures will adapt the popular book. Based on the New York Times bestselling young adult novel from Tomi Adeyemi, Children of Blood and Bone is the first part of a planned trilogy. The story focuses on a young heroine named Zélie Adebola as she attempts to restore the magic in her kingdom of Orïsha. The book received positive reviews from critics, and the film rights were sold before the book was even published.
Originally picked by Fox 2000 Pictures, director Rick Famuyiwa signed to the project. When 20th Century Fox was purchased by Disney, the project caught the attention of studio head, Kathleen Kennedy, who wanted to adapt Children of Blood and Bone under the Lucasfilm banner and would be one of the first non-Star Wars project the studio had done since its acquisition at Disney. The film would be a co-production between Lucasfilm and 20th Century Pictures, and the project was formally announced in December 2020 as part of Disney Investor Day.
However, it appears that Lucasfilm let the rights to the novel lapse, and after a fierce bidding war, Paramount Pictures picked up the rights to the novel. According to THR, Lucasfilm let development on the project languish as the studio turned its focus to its various Star Wars series, and author Adeyemi grew disenchanted with the pace of the project and began pushing for more control on the adaptation of her book, including making the case that she should be the one writing the script, a request Lucasfilm was unwilling to accommodate. The rights lapsed in September 2021, and a fierce bidding war erupted between Netflix, Amazon Studios, and Universal Pictures, but Paramount won out in the end as the studio’s offer included a seven-figure screenwriting guarantee, creative approvals for Adeyemi, and a guaranteed theatrical release.
Lucasfilm, meanwhile, is rethinking its approach, but putting more focus on the various brands the company does own instead of trying to create new ones. This is apparent with the various Star Wars films and television series, as well as a new Indiana Jones film and a Willow series coming to Disney+. While Lucasfilm has changed from Lucas’ original intent even before the purchase from Disney, it is somewhat sad that the company which was founded on creating independent films and finding new stories to tell is only sticking to what has worked in the past instead of trying to expand their portfolio.
Paramount Pictures’ investment in Children of Blood and Bone as a theatrical release is a bold one as the studio recently made it known they would prioritize streaming films. However, just recently the studio also showed its commitment to theatrical distribution as it reworked its release schedule, delaying major projects like Mission: Impossible 7, the new A Quiet Place film, and new entries in the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles properties. While the YA adaptation has not been as popular as it was in the early 2010s, the massive success of Children of Blood and Bone as a book could still make it the next big franchise for Paramount Pictures and kick off a whole new era of YA novels on film.
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