Studio to develop graphic novel as franchise

Dimension Films has acquired screen rights to “Locke & Key,” a graphic novel written by Joe Hill that will be developed as a potential franchise.

Hill, son of author Stephen King, made his first screen sale with his debut novel, “Heart-Shaped Box,” which Warner Bros. is developing.

Dimension bought film and TV rights to “Locke & Key” from IDW Publishing and will develop the property as a feature. John Davis is producing.

Story revolves around a trio of children who become the caretakers of Keyhouse, a mansion in New England that is full of secrets and magic. The kids discover doors that take them to different places, give them powers and even alter gender and skin color. Behind one door is a dangerously violent creature.

Dimension has had a lot of luck with King — “1408″ and “The Mist” came from King novellas, and Eli Roth is directing a feature adaptation of his novel “The Cell” — but Dimension chief Bob Weinstein said that wasn’t why he bought the property.

“I love what Joe wrote. There are fun elements that horror fans love, and it feels like a franchise where you can feel satisfied with each film, but there is a door left open for the next one,” said Weinstein, who put the deal together with exec veep Andrew Kramer.

IDW released the first issue of “Locke & Key” on Wednesday, and will release the second volume March 5. The plan is to do three six-issue installments, a total of 18 comics. The film will be exec produced by Ted Adams, CEO of IDW, the same comic company behind “30 Days of Night,” which was also turned into a film.

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