Studio nabs feature rights to sci-fi novel

Warner Bros. has bought “Ready Player One,” snapping up feature rights to the debut sci-fi novel by screenwriter Ernie Cline (“Fanboys”) for high six figures.

The studio has attached Donald De Line to produce with Cline’s manager Dan Farah. Sale of the property to Warner closed late Friday after it topped bids from Paramount, a day after Random House won the book publishing rights for North America.

Cline will adapt “Ready Player One,” in which a teen escapes his bleak life in an idyllic virtual world called Oasis. He then finds himself competing in a treasure hunt against ruthless foes after the game’s founder dies and offers his fortune as the grand prize.

During the auction, “Ready Player One” was described as combining elements of “Avatar,” “The Matrix” and “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Warner-based De Line’s producing “Green Lantern,” starring Ryan Reynolds. He’s in post-production on “Yogi Bear” and “Burlesque.”

Farah produced “Armored” for Sony. TWC released Cline’s “Fanboys” last year.

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