Fox Finds 'Martian' Simon Kinberg (EXCLUSIVE)

He'd produce through Genre Films shingle

With a diminished spec market, more and more studios are taking chances on books that have yet to be published, and Fox has joined that list by picking up the option to author Andy Weir’s unpublished book “The Martian.”

Simon Kinberg has come aboard as a producer alongside his exec Aditya Sood through Kinberg’s Genre Films banner. Fox exec Steve Asbell will oversee the project for the studio.

Book is a science fiction thriller about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars in an accident, and then must figure out how to stay alive long enough to get back home.

The pickup marks one of a handful of books studios have optioned in the last year prior to the tome being published. Last fall, Illumination and Universal optioned the rights to the “Lockwood & Co.” series before the first book in the series, “The Screaming Staircase,” was even finished. And Warner Bros. recently optioned the rights to the Christopher Golden book “Tin Men” based solely on Golden’s proposal.

Kinberg, who made a name for himself penning such hits as “Sherlock Holmes” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” is now a producer studios are looking at to oversee their future tentpoles. Some of the upcoming pics Kinberg is either in production on or developing include Sony’s “Elysium,” Disney’s “Cinderella” and Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” He is also consulting on “Star Wars: Episode 7” and is writing/producing one of the stand-alone films.

Kinberg is repped by CAA.

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