Chernin opens ‘The Houdini Box’

Shingle nabs rights to book on fateful brush with famed illusionist

Chernin Entertainment is hoping to unshackle a Harry Houdini pic, picking up feature rights to Brian Selznick’s “The Houdini Box.”

The book, published in 1991, centers on a boy who’s trying unsuccessfully to perform Houdini’s magic tricks when he meets his idol at a train station and begs Houdini to explain himself, eliciting a promise from Houdini to write. The boy finally receives a letter inviting him to Houdini’s house — only to discover that Houdini died that day and left him a mysterious, locked box.

Famous for his complicated escape acts, the illusionist died in 1926 of a ruptured appendix following a performance in Detroit.

Selznick also wrote “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which was adapted into Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.”

Fox-based Chernin produced “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” as well as TV series “Terra Nova” and “Breakout Kings.” Chernin is also a producer on Paul Feig’s female buddy cop project starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

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