×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Worldwide scoops up ‘Tom Swift’

Hecht's studio nabs rights to entire book series

Worldwide Biggies, a digital studio recently opened by longtime Nickelodeon and Spike exec Albie Hecht, has acquired all rights to Simon & Schuster’s long-running Tom Swift book series.

The company plans to introduce the franchise with a feature film and vidgame and follow with episodes for TV and the Web. Hecht used a similar pattern for “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” which opened as a film while he was head of Nick Movies and soon segued into an estimable run as a TV skein.

Worldwide Biggies is in talks with potential partners — directors, producers and/or studios — so some of the decisions about how the Swift series will be put onscreen will be made after that partnership is set.

Swift, a teenage genius born into a family of inventors, has had a wide following for decades, spanning some 100-plus installments in numerous genres. At its core has always been young Tom’s knack for problem solving and fantastical inventions.

The series has generated sales of more than 20 million copies. It was originated by Edward Stratemeyer, best known for producing such successful syndicate franchises as “The Bobbsey Twins,” “The Hardy Boys” and “Nancy Drew,” and were written by a number of ghostwriters over the years under the pseudonym Victor Appleton.

“I grew up basically reading comicbooks and Tom Swift,” Hecht said. “The books always gave you something unexpected and brought the reader this feeling that ‘I can be an inventor. I can do that.'” Because of the property’s heritage and family nature, Hecht said it would have the “boomer equity” that has boosted the B.O. of many recent franchises.

The earliest installments, dating to 1910, “have a kind of a Jules Verne feel, where they’re talking about inventions that have actually now happened,” Hecht said. Those early ones have titles like “Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle.” Eventually, the series was modernized and taken in more of an edgy, graphic-novel direction.

The visual approach could be a live action-CGI combo or motion-capture, Hecht said, and the initial concept is to posit that Swift Industries is now a leading “green technology” company, giving the 20th century series a modern twist.

Hecht produced “Naked Brothers Band,” a multiplatform show now posting strong numbers as a series for Nick, on the heels of sizable iTunes download efforts and a primetime TV movie.

More Film

  • Jodie Foster'Money Monster' photocall, Palais, 69th

    Film News Roundup: Jodie Foster to Direct, Star in Remake of Icelandic Thriller

    In today’s film news roundup, Jodie Foster is remaking Iceland’s “Woman at War,” the Art Directors Guild honors production designers Anthony Masters and Ben Carre, “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” gets cast and Melissa Takal directs “New Year New You” for Hulu. PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT Jodie Foster will direct, co-produce and star in an English-language remake of [...]

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in Remake of Denmark's Oscar Entry 'The Guilty' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bold Films, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker’s Nine Stories banner have acquired the rights to remake the Danish thriller “The Guilty,” with Gyllenhaal attached to star. The pic won the world cinema audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was also named one of the top five foreign language films of 2018 by [...]

  • Toxic Avenger

    'Toxic Avenger' Movie in the Works at Legendary

    Legendary Entertainment is developing “The Toxic Avenger” as a movie after acquiring the feature film rights. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers. Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee for Legendary. Kaufman and Herz produced the original 1984 comedy, set in the fictional town of Tromaville, N.J., and centered [...]

  • Constance Wu

    'Crazy Rich Asians' Star Constance Wu in Negotiations for Romantic Comedy

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Constance Wu is in talks to join Sony’s Screen Gems’ untitled romantic comedy, with Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman producing. “GLOW” actress Kimmy Gatewood is making her feature directorial debut on the project. She will be directing from a Savion Einstein script about a woman who becomes pregnant with two babies [...]

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal AoA

    Maggie Gyllenhaal on Why a Woman Director Doesn't Automatically Make a Story More Feminine

    Having a female director doesn’t automatically make a story more feminine, says “The Kindergarten Teacher” star Maggie Gyllenhaal, but when it comes to her film with director Sara Colangelo, she says the female narrative is fully encapsulated. “Just because something is written or directed by a woman doesn’t necessarily make it a feminine articulation,” she says [...]

  • Kevin Hart Hurricane Harvey

    Academy Looks Warily at Oscar Host Options as Board Meeting Looms

    Kevin Hart’s abrupt departure as Oscars host has left the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences scrambling to find someone to take the gig. As of now, the situation remains fluid as the group’s leadership explores options, including going host-less, individuals familiar with the situation told Variety. The Academy was blindsided by Hart’s announced departure Thursday [...]

  • Regina King Maggie Gyllenhaal

    Maggie Gyllenhaal, Regina King on Intimacy Experts: 'I Could Have Used the Help When I Was Younger'

    Maggie Gyllenhaal’s sex-trade industry series “The Deuce” features one job that’s unlike any other in television: an intimacy expert. During her Variety Actors on Actors interview with Regina King, “The Kindergarten Teacher” actress explained how the strange role is actually important in helping young actresses stand up for themselves, especially when it comes to sex scenes on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content