The sale marks the largest deal to date at the virtual European Film Market, surpassing Netflix’s $55 million acquisition of “The Pale Blue Eye” last year. Directed by Marc Forster, “A Man Called Otto” sparked a fierce bidding war with Sony ultimately coming out on top with the film’s worldwide rights. It will be released in theaters.
Based on Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel “A Man Called Ove,” the film tells the story of Otto (Hanks), a grumpy and strict widower who holds the rest of his neighborhood to his staunch rules. But just as Otto is about to give up on his life, he sparks a new friendship with his neighbors, prompting him to undergo a transformation.
Production on the film is set to begin this month in Pittsburgh, Penn. The cast includes Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. Oscar-nominated writer David Magee is adapting the screenplay and will serve as an executive producer. SF Studios’ Fredrik Wikström Nicastro is producing the film with Rita Wilson and Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Forster and Renée Wolfe will executive produce via their company 2DUX2. SF Studios is financing the film.
“What an amazing all-star constellation of talent: Tom Hanks in an iconic role and an exceptional director in Marc Forster; outstanding producers in Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro; exquisite screenplay from David Magee; a worldwide best-selling book; and our long-time partner, SF Studios,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group. “Elizabeth Gabler, myself and Sony have had the privilege of working with all of these giants before, but this time we feel like we hit the lottery.”
Wikström Nicastro added: “Tom and Elizabeth’s passion for the material and vision for how to create a worldwide theatrical event blew us all away. We couldn’t be more excited for Otto to find a home at our friends at Sony.”
Said Wilson, “We are thrilled to partner with Sony, who have consistently shown their commitment to film and filmmakers. In this era, which offers so many ways to be entertained, we applaud Sony’s commitment to theatrical exhibition.”
The deal was negotiated for Sony Pictures by Jon Freedberg, EVP, content strategy and business development and Joe Matukewicz, head of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ Stage 6 Films. CAA Media Finance, Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark, and Craig Emanuel of Paul Hastings negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.
Deadline Hollywood was the first to report the news of the film’s acquisition.