C/W, Mutual spy Child novel as franchise

In a deal worth mid-six against seven figures, Paramount Pictures has optioned “One Shot,” the latest in a series of Lee Child-penned mysteries about a Dirty Harry-like ex-military homicide investigator named Jack Reacher.

Project will be a co-production between C/W Prods. and Mutual, and the film will be produced by Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn and Kevin Messick.

“One Shot” became a hot title after a glowing New York Times review, and the studio and producers are hoping to tap earlier titles in Child’s nine-book series and launch a franchise. Interest in the new book was generated by Par’s Gotham office.

In “One Shot,” Reacher seeks the truth behind what seems an open-and-shut murder case after a trained military sniper is arrested for shooting five random victims.

Granger, now an exec at C/W, once had the earlier books under option with Messick when they were at Mutual with Levinsohn. “Killing Floor” had been set at New Line, with a script by John Rogers and Clark Johnson attached to direct, but the option lapsed.

New book created buzz in New York, and when the Times review stoked it, Messick and Granger rekindled things with Granger’s C/W bosses and Par quickly closed a deal with APA. The studio can either reach an accommodation with New Line for the earlier script on a book it no longer controls or start from scratch.

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