By bidding around $ 500,000 Friday, Universal emerged as the winner of the spec script “Finest in the Field,” beating Paramount and Warner Bros. to the punch.

The purchase is particularly significant for Uptown Pictures: “Finest” marks the first spec buy the studio has made on behalf of the outfit, which is one of the rookie shingles on the lot.

The “Finest” deal is former TV writer Garrett K. Schiff’s first feature coup with the majors. Lucy Stille from the Paradigm agency cut her client’s deal with U’s Nina Jacobson.

The story of “Finest” centers on an 11-year-old girl in the 1930s whose life is brought into sharp focus when she seizes the chance to get her widowed father the one rare baseball card he wants.

Currently in rewrite until it goes out to talent shortly, “Finest” will be produced by Uptown chairman Andre Harrell and motion pictures senior VP Darlene K. Chan.

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