Columbia Pictures is throwing “The Party” for scripters Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan. The studio has purchased the duo’s spec script, hired them to direct it and greenlit the project all at once.
The pic, which will be budgeted under $10 million, will shoot in November. Elfont and Kaplan are pay-or-play as helmers. It’s their first stint behind the camera. Salary figures and the spec’s sale cost were not disclosed.
Pic, in the vein of “American Graffiti,” follows six high school kids on the night of their graduation.
Columbia beat out Interscope, DreamWorks and United Artists for the spec.
Betty Thomas and Jenno Topping will produce. Thomas developed a relationship with Elfont and Kaplan after they scripted “A Very Brady Sequel,” which she helmed.
Amy Ferris and Dave Wirtschafter of ICM and Warren Zide of Zide Entertainment repped the scribe-directors in the deal. Richard Feldman of ICM handled Thomas and Topping in negotiations.
Senior VP of production Matt Tolmach will oversee the project.
Feature credits for Elfont and Kaplan include “The Family Way,” which is set up at Paramount Pictures, and a draft of the upcoming “Gilligan’s Island.”