After a two-year courtship, 20th Century Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri has wrapped a seven-figure deal to turn the Dr. Seuss classic “Horton Hears a Who” into a CGI-animated film.
Deal was made with Audrey Geisel, widow of Theodor Geisel — the author best known as Dr. Seuss. “Ice Age” producer Blue Sky will produce.
Pact also comes with an option for a sequel based on the Seuss book “Horton Hatches an Egg.”
Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the scripting team behind “The Santa Clause 2,” will pen the “Who” screenplay.
Meledandri was able to pull off the deal after he brought in Mike DeFeo, who heads the studio’s model department. DeFeo build a scale model for a scene in the movie. That effort, coupled with the track record of Blue Sky, moved Audrey Geisel to sell the rights to the story of the elephant who incurs the wrath of everyone around him to protect a speck of dust that, he believes, contains a living being.
Audrey Geisel sold “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to Universal several years ago after such filmmakers as Gary Ross and Tom Shadyac pitched takes. She chose a seven-figure deal with U after Brian Grazer and Ron Howard made their pitch, with Jim Carrey actually showing her his vision of the Grinch character in between takes as Andy Kaufman while filming “Man on the Moon.”
Blue Sky returns Friday with Chris Wedge’s “Robots.”