The Susan Halli Shaffer screenplay “Out of the House” landed at Warner Bros. on Friday, following a three-week incubation on the open market.
The project was optioned by Warners for Quincy Jones Prods. An upfront price was pegged in the $ 125,000 range while the all-in deal is believed to be in the neighborhood of $ 400,000, if the project is made into a pic.
“Out of the House” is a romantic comedy about an agoraphobic woman and her high school sweetheart who stood her up 15 years ago at the prom. A decade and a half later, the man takes a public stance to apologize to the woman and rekindle their relationship. By the way, both sweethearts are members of Mensa.
TriStar Pictures-based producers Rob Fried, Cary Woods and Fried/Woods Films development executive Elizabeth Guber aggressively pursued the screenplay during the last 21 days, but TriStar management repeatedly passed on the project. Fried and Woods could not be reached for comment.
With TriStar negotiations at a standstill, Warner Bros. stepped up and moved late last week to purchase the screenplay for music mogul Quincy Jones. Company executive Romi Straussman helped bring the project to the fore at Jones’ Hollywood-based movie production company.
“When the project first went out, there was a tremendous feeding frenzy,” Shaffer said. “I had hoped it would go to TriStar because Elizabeth Guber worked tirelessly to try and make this happen. But I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out because Quincy Jones is a tremendous talent and Warner Bros. is a studio that I’m very happy to be in business with.”
Shaffer began her career in the early 1980s as a reader for Norman Lear, who has numerous screenplays in development in Hollywood. The list includes a female “Big Chill” titled “Strawberry Canyon” (in turnaround at Paramount), the Whitney Houston remake of the 1955 musical “Daddy Longlegs” for 20th Century Fox and the Viacom/Stonehenge project “The Other Woman.”
The deal marks at least the fifth screenplay sale for William Morris Agency veepee Alan Gasmer in 1993, including the big-budget “Smoke and Mirrors” to Cinergi Prods., the movie rights to playwright Jon Tolins’ “Twilight of the Golds” to Hollywood Pix, Colpix’s acquisition of “Jack and the Beanstalk” for Michael Jackson’s Nation Films and writer Steven Baigelman’s screenplay “Feeling Minnesota” to Jersey Films. Gasmer had no comment Friday.