Warner Bros. buys into ‘Murders’

Wall Street dark comedy first in new deal for KatzSmith Prods.

Just three weeks after signing a two-year, first-look producing pact at Warner Bros., KatzSmith Prods. partners Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg have set up their first project under the new deal, as WB has purchased Jonathan W. Stokes’ dark comedy script “Murders and Acquisitions.”

Story contrasts the world of high-stakes finance with that of high-priced hitmen. Both worlds collide when an ousted CEO decides to hire an assassin to kill the corporate raider who stole his company.

There’s no director attached to the project yet, but Katzenberg and Grahame-Smith will produce under their KatzSmith banner. Sarah Schechter will oversee “Murders and Acquisitions” for Warners.

Project came about after Grahame-Smith learned that Stokes had written “El Gringo” for Joel Silver’s shingle Silver Pictures.

The duo have known each other since the first grade, when they were close friends in Connecticut. After losing touch for two decades, they reconnected, which led to Stokes giving KatzSmith an early look at the script.

Stokes’ other spec script, “Blood Mountain,” is currently getting buzz as it makes the rounds at studios.

While rights are still being worked out, KatzSmith is expected to produce a sequel to Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” for WB, which tapped Grahame-Smith to work on the script for Burton’s upcoming Johnny Depp starrer “Dark Shadows.”

KatzSmith is also producing the Fox comedy “From Mia With Love,” which Katzenberg is attached to direct from a script he and Grahame-Smith wrote with Kevin Chesley and Bryan Shukoff.

Katzenberg and Grahame-Smith are repped by WME and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine, while Stokes is repped by UTA and Brooklyn Weaver at Energy Entertainment.