Overall deal gives Fox 2000 first-look rights to Paper Lantern titles

Increasing its growing stake in the young-adult genre, Fox 2000 has inked an overall deal with teen book development company Paper Lantern Lit. First-look agreement with founder Lauren Oliver includes rights to her second novel, “Delirium.”

Fox has been more aggressive than its competitors recently in picking up rights to the high-profile young adult books on the market. Fox 2000 recently acquired rights to “The Book Thief,” a New York Times bestseller, and “Incarceron,” with Taylor Lautner attached to star.

Under the deal, Fox 2000 will have rights to develop and produce young adult work from both Oliver and Lantern’s pool of authors. Last year, the shingle obtained rights to Oliver’s flagship novel “Before I Fall,” a New York Times bestseller.

Paula Mazur and Mitch Kaplan will produce “Delirium,” which hit No. 6 on the Times’ children’s chapter bestseller list. Duo originally brought the novel to Fox 2000 after picking it up through their Mazur/Kaplan Co.

While about one-third of Fox 2000 development projects come from young adult material, Thursday’s deal is the shingle’s first with a book company and lit author.

“We know there’s a huge, really aggressive audience in young moviegoers,” Fox 2000 prexy Elizabeth Gabler told Variety. “I think the trend right now is to look at things that are created for them.”

Studios have been heating up bids on young-adult franchises ever since the runaway success of “Twilight,” with DreamWorks’ “I Am Number Four” the most recent example.

Part of the draw for young adult material, Gabler says, is that its bigscreen appeal can be broadened to a wider audience. But she cautions that doesn’t guarantee a bestselling novel will translate to box office.”You have to look at the freshness of the idea and the universal themes that go into the story and the characters, whatever their situation is, and how relatable that is to audiences.”

Oliver and Lexa Hillyer formed Paper Lantern Lit in 2010 with a focus on young readers and writers.

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