Nicholas Sparks, the author of romantic weepies like “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Dear John” and “The Last Song,” is partnering with Universal Pictures to produce three feature films.
The movies will be based on some of his recent novels, including “The Wish,” an emotional story about first love. During the pandemic alone, Sparks churned out “The Return,” which was published in September 2020 and recently optioned for film, as well as “The Wish,” which came out in September 2021. His 23rd novel, “Dreamland,” will be published in September 2022.
Tuesday’s announcement comes as part of a first-look production agreement between Sparks and Universal.
Zack Hayden will produce “The Wish” on behalf of Anonymous Content with oversight by Anonymous Content CEO Dawn Olmstead and CCO David Levin. They will work alongside Sparks’ longtime literary agent and collaborator Theresa Park, as well as Universal Pictures’ VP of production development Lexi Barta.
“Nick Sparks’ evocative novels have served as beloved cultural touchstones, with strong characters and powerful themes that make them ideal for cinematic adaptation,” said Universal Pictures President Peter Cramer. “We are honored to partner with Nick, Theresa and Anonymous Content on these new films, which we know will build upon his successful track record of captivating audiences around the globe.”
Since Sparks wrote his first novel “The Notebook” in 1996, 11 of his books have been adapted into feature films. Those movies, including “The Notebook” with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, “A Walk to Remember” featuring Mandy Moore,” “Dear John” starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and “The Last Song” with Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, have collectively grossed more than $750 million at the global box office.
And his work is no longer bound by page and screen. A Broadway musical adaptation of “The Notebook” is currently in development from producers Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch, with music and lyrics penned by Ingrid Michaelson and Bekah Brunstetter.
“Nicholas Sparks has given us over 20 novels and nearly as many films, each of which deftly evoke every single possible human emotion,” said Anonymous Content CEO, Dawn Olmstead. “Through page and screen, he pulls readers and viewers deep into these character’s lives and more than ever, we need these stories and feel so connected to their themes of love, family, hardships, and resilience. We are thrilled to team up with him, Theresa, and the team at Universal to bring more of these epic love stories to audiences.”
Sparks, whose prior movies have been distributed by New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, Disney, 20th Century and Warner Bros., called it a “dream” to work with Universal Pictures.
“An author could not ask for better producing partners than Anonymous Content, whose taste and history of making award-winning film and television are undisputed. Zack, David and Dawn are as savvy and sophisticated as they come,” Sparks said. “Furthermore, it has always been my dream to have my film adaptations at Universal Pictures — they are truly the gold standard, famous for their high-quality dramas of all kinds. As for longtime executives Donna Langley and Peter Cramer, their class, reputations and success speak for themselves.”
Park previously partnered with Sparks on the feature films “The Best Of Me,” “The Longest Ride” and “The Choice,” all based on Sparks’ novels. A literary agent and co-founder of Park and Fine Literary and Media in New York City, she is also the principal of Per Capita Productions. Separately, under her Per Capita banner Park has produced “After Yang,” which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021. She also produced “Bones and All,” director Luca Guadagnino’s first U.S.-set feature film.
Sparks is represented by Howie Sanders, Co-Head of the Anonymous Content Media Rights Department, Park & Fine Literary and Media, and Scott Schwimer Esq.