Bob Gale — a veteran screenwriter and longtime writing partner of Bob Zemeckis — has inked a seven-figure overall deal with the Walt Disney Co., beginning with a screenplay based on his original comedy pitch “In Control.”In addition to the pitch, the pact includes Disney’s commitment for Gale to direct an undetermined film in the future; as well as a first-look writing arrangement in which Disney will develop at least one more screenplay by the scribe. The pact is said to be worth more than $1 million upfront, with a substantial, backend gross participation deal. Walt Disney Pictures’ prexy David Vogel negotiated the deal on the studio’s behalf. Although Vogel recently was given the additional title of president of a revived Hollywood Pictures, Gale’s projects will be developed under the Walt Disney banner. “In Control” is a comedy about a guy who makes a pact with the devil in order to gain total control of everything in his life. Kathleen Kennedy of the Kennedy/Marshall Co. will produce. Gale has a lengthy list of screenwriting credits — many of which were shared with Zemeckis, with whom he has collaborated since their days at the USC cinema school, more than 22 years ago. Those credits include the three “Back to the Future” films (which he also co-produced), “Trespass,” “1941” and “Used Cars.” He currently is doing a rewrite on “Tesla” for Zemeckis at Warner Bros.; and he recently finished a rewrite on “After the Visitation” for TriStar.” Gale also is attached to direct “Jimbo’s Stand” from his screenplay for Touchstone. Among those said also to be vying for the “In Control” pitch were Columbia, Disney and ImageMovers — the latter being the newly formed production company based at DreamWorks and run by Zemeckis with Gale’s former agent, Jack Rapke. UTA agents Jeremy Zimmer and Dan Aloni — who signed Gale just a few weeks ago — brokered the deal on Gale’s behalf, along with attorney Harold Brown of Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown.
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