The Walt Disney Studios is developing a movie based on Eoin Colfer’s series of “Artemis Fowl” books that Harvey Weinstein will produce. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”-scribe Michael Goldenberg will write the screenplay.
The books revolve around Fowl, a 12-year-old who is a millionaire, a genius and criminal mastermind. Disney said the live action feature will be based on the first and second installments of Colfer’s books, published by Disney Publishing Worldwide, in which Fowl kidnaps a dangerous fairy in order to save his family.
Weinstein has been working on a bigscreen version of “Artemis Fowl” since 2000, when he initially locked down the film rights to the novels with Tribeca Prods.
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Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal will executive produce the project.
“If you would have told me five years ago I would be producing a project with Disney I would have thought you were crazy,” said Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Co. “I feel as though everything is coming full circle considering Bob DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal brought me this book while I was still at Miramax and within hours I told them I wanted the rights to the film.”
Disney sold its stake in Miramax Films, founded by Weinstein and his brother Bob in 2010 to a group of private investors led by Ron Tutor and Colony Capital for around $660 million. Disney purchased the independent label from the brothers in 1993. The Weinsteins had hoped to buy back the company named after their parents but lost out to deeper-pocketed bidders. They founded the Weinstein Co. in 2005.
“Artemis Fowl” reunites Weinstein with Walt Disney Studios chief Alan Horn, with whom he worked on “The Aviator,” “Starsky and Hutch” and the animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie.
“It is also exciting to partner with friends Alan Bergman, Sean Bailey and of course Bob Iger who has been incredibly generous to me over the years,” Weinstein said. “This is a special project for me because my children absolutely love this book. This story is for everyone and there is no one better than Disney to make a film that will excite people young and old.”
“Artemis Fowl’s” “balance of mystery, adventure and family appeal” makes the books “a natural fit for Disney,” according to Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with Harvey on this exciting project.”
The “Artemis Fowl” books have sold more than 21 million copies in print in 44 languages worldwide.