John Gatins to produce EA vidgame title

Just days after securing additional coin from Reliance, DreamWorks is in advanced negotiations to acquire “Need for Speed,” a feature adaptation of Electronic Arts’ popular video game that the studio plans to develop as a potential tentpole in the vein of Universal’s successful “Fast and Furious” franchise.

Siblings George and John Gatins developed the project together, and George Gatins wrote the script. John Gatins will produce with EA.

UTA, which reps EA and the Gatins, assembled the package that also garnered interest from both Sony and Paramount. Should a deal close, the highly sought-after property would give DreamWorks something to celebrate following a grim Friday during which the studio laid off 10 staffers.

Deal would put DreamWorks back in business with John Gatins, who wrote the studio’s hit robot boxing pic “Real Steel,” which grossed nearly $300 million worldwide.

Electronic Arts released “Need for Speed: The Run” as the 18th installment in the franchise last November. Game was an attempt to freshen up the series by developing a plot for the first time and hiring actors Sean Faris (“Never Back Down”) and Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) to play lead roles in a grueling race from San Francisco to New York City.

Before “The Run,” the “Need for Speed” games generated more than $100 million for EA since the first bowed in 1994. Company plans to release a new “Need for Speed” each fall, the same way Activision launches a new installment of its blockbuster “Call of Duty” franchise each year.

UTA has repped the gamemaker since 2008, when it started setting up adaptations of its more high-profile titles around town, including “Mass Effect,” “Spore,” “The Sims,” “Army of Two,” “Dante’s Inferno” and “Dead Space,” as films or TV shows. UTA also reps the Gatins.

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