Sony, WB nab pair of book deals

Studios nab rights to 'Angelology,' Tropper novel

Two major book auctions wrapped up Friday in a sign that the comatose book-to-movie biz may be waking up.

Columbia Pictures won a spirited auction late Friday for the Danielle Trussoni novel “Angelology,” paying $1 million for the title. Feature adaptation will be produced by Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment and Marc Forster’s Apparatus.

Separately, Warner Bros. acquired the upcoming Jonathan Tropper novel “This Is Where I Leave You.” Tropper will write the first draft for director Greg Berlanti. Paula Weinstein and Jeff Levine will produce.

The auction for “Angelology” came on the heels of a Viking publishing deal for what is potentially a three-book series. The screen rights auction pitted Columbia against Warner Bros., which bid for Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road, and Universal, which bid for Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

The deal came together after reps of each bidder provided their vision of the movie to the author, who previously wrote the memoir “Falling Through the Earth.” Overbrook’s Lassiter and Ken Stovitz, and Brad Simpson of Apparatus, chased it with Col execs Ange Giannetti and DeVon Franklin. Giannetti is Col’s exec on “The Da Vinci Code” and the upcoming sequel “Angels and Demons.”

“Angelology,” which has drawn comparisons to those Dan Brown-penned novels, revolves around a 23-year-old nun who teams with an angelologist to thwart a group that tries to destroy mankind by harnessing the destructive powers of a race of angel/human hybrids. While WB didn’t get “Angelology,” the studio did win Tropper’s “This Is Where I Leave You,” which Dutton will publish. A Jewish father’s last wish is that his nonreligious family sit shiva for him. Over seven days, they are forced to confront their own dysfunctional family dynamic.

Berlanti, the veteran showrunner and exec producer of series including “Everwood,” “Eli Stone,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Dawson’s Creek,” is already in business at WB, where he will direct “Green Lantern.”

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