Yellow Bird picks up Marklund rights

Swedish company to produce six films

LONDON — Swedish shingle Yellow Bird, which has scored notable successes with literary adaptations “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Wallander,” is to adapt the work of best-selling author Liza Marklund.

The company, which is part of the trans-European production and distribution group Zodiak Ent., has acquired the film rights to six Marklund novels that center on crime reporter Annika Bengtzon: “Studio 69,” “Prime Time,” “The Red Wolf,” “Nobel’s Last Will,” “Lifetime” and “A.”

The Bengtzon series, which comprises eight books in all with a ninth on the way, have been translated into 30 languages and sold more than nine million copies. Helmer Colin Nutley adapted one of the books in 2003, “The Bomber and Paradise,” which became the feature “Paradiset.”

Filming on the six films, which will have a combined budget of $14 million, is expected to start at the end of next year.

Yellow Bird, which was founded in 2003 by producer Ole Sondberg, is also producing three theatrical feature pics based on the “Millennium” trilogy, written by the late novelist Stieg Larsson. The first pic in the trilogy, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” was sold to 35 international markets and has grossed more than $72 million.

The company is also producing another 13 Swedish-language TV movies based on author Henning Mankell’s novels about police detective Kurt Wallander.

It is also producing a further three English-language “Wallander” TV movies, starring Kenneth Branagh and co-produced by the U.K.’s Left Bank Pictures. The first three English-language “Wallander” TV movies were shown on BBC in the U.K. last year, for which they won the BAFTA for drama series, and PBS in the U.S. earlier this year. The series has been sold to a further 13 territories.

Yellow Bird, which recently set up a subsidiary in Munich, is also producing a two-part German-language miniseries based on Mankell’s book “Kennedy’s Brain,” which is a co-production with Bavaria Pictures and ARD/Degeto.

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