Warner Bros. is finalizing a deal with Amazon Studios to co-finance its film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” Variety has learned.
As part of the pact, Amazon will invest more than a third of the movie’s budget, which is estimated to be in the $40 million range, according to insiders. In return, it will get streaming rights to the picture on its Prime service. It will also launch the picture on home entertainment platforms in what is commonly referred to as the pay-TV window, the term for when movies debut on premium cable channels such as HBO and Showtime.
Warner Bros. will distribute the film in theaters worldwide. There were several other parties interested in boarding the project, but Amazon was the most aggressive. The e-retailer believes the project is a good fit for its customer base, because Tartt’s novel was a big seller on its platform. It also views the partnership on the movie as a good branding opportunity.
Warner and RatPac had picked up rights to the Pulitzer-winning book back in 2014. RatPac is also an investor in the film as well as a producer. “Goldfinch,” which earned critical raves for its Dickensian plotting, tells the story of a young man named Theodore Decker who survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum — an attack that kills his mother. From there he tumbles through a series of adventures that finds him living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father and, later, involved in art forgeries.
Ralph Fiennes is being eyed for the role of Hobie, an antiques dealer, who befriends the boy. At some point, the studio also talked to Liam Neeson about the possibility of taking on the Hobie part, while Julianne Moore was approached to play Theodore’s mother, but no deals materialized. John Crowley (“Brooklyn”) will direct the film.
Amazon has moved aggressively into the film space in recent years, scoring Oscars for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman.” It had a hit this summer with “The Big Sick,” a romantic comedy with Kumail Nanjiani, and will be releasing Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” and Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” this fall.
Spokespeople for Amazon and Warner Bros. declined to comment.