Studio acquires Scholastic's young-adult series

Columbia Pictures has acquired rights from Scholastic Media to bring R.L. Stine’s young-adult “Goosebumps” series to the bigscreen.

“Goosebumps” has never been adapted for the bigscreen, despite selling 300 million books — a young-adult feat second only to Scholastic’s “Harry Potter” series .

Scholastic’s Deborah Forte is producing alongside Neal Moritz via his Sony-based Original Film banner.

“Numerous people have tried to bring ‘Goosebumps’ to the bigscreen, but luckily Scholastic never found the right fit,” said Moritz, who is better known for producing action fare such as “The Fast and the Furious” films, though he has the young-adult project “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” in development at Sony. “I’ve been a huge fan of the property for a long time. I met with Deborah several times and convinced her that Original and Sony were the best place to take it.”

Sony and Scholastic see the property as a potential franchise.

“The time is ripe for doing a movie,” said Forte, who dubbed “Goosebumps” the original “safe scare” property. “The first generation of ‘Goosebumps’ fans are in their early 20s now.”

Studio is fast-tracking the project and is focusing on finding a writer.

Moritz said they likely will cast unknown child actors and then pepper the film with well-known thesps in supporting roles, much like Warner did with the “Harry Potter” franchise.

First published in 1992, the original “Goosebumps” series comprises more than 50 books and has been published in 32 languages. Stine’s “Goosebumps HorrorLand” books — a new 12-book series that feature characters from the original series such as Slappy the Dummy, the Haunted Mask and the Mummy — hit shelves last month. In the fall, Scholastic Interactive will launch a “Goosebumps” videogame.

The series also spawned a live-action TV show that aired on the Fox Kids Network in the 1990s. Episodes of that series returned to the small screen last year on Cartoon Network.

Matt Tolmach, co-president of Columbia, called the franchise “a truly global brand that excites kids everywhere.” He added, “With so much rich source material available to us, we expect to deliver a film that will chill and thrill fans of this unique family-friendly franchise.”

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