DreamWorks nabs rights to adventure series

DreamWorks has acquired screen rights to “The 39 Clues,” a multiplatform adventure series to be launched in the fall by Scholastic Media. Steven Spielberg is eyeing the project as a directing vehicle.

DreamWorks co-chair/CEO Stacey Snider struck the deal with Scholastic Media president Deborah Forte.

Forte and Spielberg will produce; Spielberg is expected to set a screenwriter in the next few weeks.

It’s unclear whether “Clues” would remain at Paramount after Spielberg and Snider exit the studio and re-establish DreamWorks as an indie.

“The 39 Clues,” which launches Sept. 9, is envisioned as a 10-book series to be released over two years. It’s described as a multimedia adventure that will include a set of collectible cards and an online game that will serve as a portal as young readers try to solve a mystery for a grand prize of $10,000. The contest will run for two years.

The focus of “The 39 Clues” is the most powerful family in the world, the Cahills, who count Napoleon and Houdini among their relatives. Readers will be challenged to discover the source of the family’s powers, revealed through 39 clubs that are hidden around the world and scattered throughout history.

First book in the series, “The Maze of Bones,” has been completed by Rick Riordan, who also has outlined the series’ 10-book arc. The adventure kicks off with the death of Cahill clan matriarch Grace, who changes her will at the last moment, giving her descendants the choice between $1 million or a clue.

“The 39 Clues” takes “creative leaps to expand the story experience from the pages of the books to multiple stages of discovery and imagination,” Spielberg said in a statement.

“There is enough material here for three or four movies,” Snider told Daily Variety. “Steven is very involved and passionate. This excites me as an executive but also as a mother. It is an educational, challenging interactive experience that hits kids where they live.”

Riordan previously wrote “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” a book series about a 12-year-old who discovers he’s the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman.

Spielberg’s upcoming sked includes a collaboration with Peter Jackson on “Tintin,” and he is set to direct an Abraham Lincoln biopic with Liam Neeson expected to topline.

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