New Line hatches Chicken deal

Film co. has struck a deal with 'Inkheart' book

New Line Cinema has finalized its long-brewing first-look deal with U.K. children’s book publisher Chicken House.

The agreement comes on the heels of New Line’s acquisition earlier this year from Chicken House of German author Cornelia Funke’s magical adventure novel “Inkheart” as a potential kids fantasy franchise.

As part of the overall deal, Chicken House founder Barry Cunningham, who as a Bloomsbury exec discovered “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling, will be able to co-produce projects as well as develop original screenplays by his stable of writers.

The deal, announced by New Line production prexy Toby Emmerich, will be overseen by exec veep Mark Ordesky and Ileen Maisel, senior VP of European production and acquisitions.

“Our exciting relationship with New Line opens up a wonderful way for Chicken House authors to explore the possibilities of their work, and a new way to build our talent together,” Cunningham said.

“Chicken House is an amazing company,” Ordesky and Maisel said. “Their books are original, imaginative and fun — everything we would look for in a movie for kids and parents.”

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