Wattpad Webtoon Studios, the entertainment arm of the user-generated fiction and comics entertainment outfits, and Italy’s Leone Film Group have announced a deal to co-develop a slate of films for the Italian and international marketplace based on original fiction stories from Wattpad.
The pact is an expansion of their previously announced deal to make a film based on Blair Holden’s “The Bad Boy’s Girl,” which is among the most popular stories on the storytelling platform.
Australian writer Hannah Lehman, whose series “Two Sides,” released under Snapchat’s ‘Snap Originals’ in 2019, started out with a self-made pilot and reached 6.5 million views on Facebook, is set to pen the script.
Lehman also wrote and directed Facebook Watch’s first ever digital series, “The Unboxing.”
Leone Film Group has now also optioned the full series of novels in “The Bad Boy’s Girl” saga, which has more than 223 million reads on the platform.
Aside from the “Bad Boy’s Girl” franchise, the plan is to develop 1-3 films per year through “a wide-ranging partnership on projects for young adult audiences that we select and co-develop and co-produce together,” Leone Film Group CEO Raffaella Leone (pictured) told Variety. “These will be Italian productions for global distribution,” she added.
“Leone Film Group understands the power of listening to audiences and nurturing fandoms,” said Aron Levitz, president at Wattpad Webtoon Studios, in a statement. “From our collaboration developing ‘The Bad Boy’s Girl’ through our expanded partnership to develop a full slate of projects, we’re thrilled to continue our relationship and create incredible films with built-in fandoms,” he added.
Wattpad, Los Angeles-based Voltage Pictures and Leone Film Group previously collaborated on the hit Wattpad-story-turned-film-franchise “After” and its sequels, which Leone has distributed in Italy, to robust box office returns.
“In this competitive landscape, it is very important to select the right content that’s going to appeal to our target audience,” Leone noted.
The new slate agreement is the latest in a series of significant partnerships and projects from Wattpad Webtoon Studios in Europe and elsewhere. They have slate deals in place with ViacomCBS International Studios, have been working with Netflix, and their Vertigo Entertainment unit is developing Spanish Webtoon creator A. Rasen’s digital comic sensation “GremoryLand” with award-winning playwright and novelist Gabriel Bergmoser attached to pen the script.
Leone Film Group recently produced, through its production company Lotus Production, the romantic drama “Time is Up,” starring Bella Thorne and Benjamin Mascolo, which has sold worldwide.
LFG also has the distinction of being the only independent distributor who will bring Martin Scorsese’s hotly anticipated “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, to the big screen in Italian movie theaters, while the pic will be an Apple TV+ exclusive in all other territories.