Universal Pictures today announced that the studio has signed three-year first-look production agreements with Scholastic Inc. and Deborah Forte to develop and produce live-action motion pictures based on a select list of Scholastic’s successful properties from its vast library of children’s literature. Currently in development at Universal are Scholastic’s Clifford the Big Red Dog and The 39 Clues, with Forte serving as producer on both. The announcement was made today by Universal’s Co-Presidents of Production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum and Peter Cramer.
“Scholastic has had tremendous success developing children’s books into recognized global brands,” said Kirschenbaum. “We’re thrilled to be entering into partnerships with them and with Deborah, who has a vast knowledge and familiarity with the Scholastic library and can help us turn some of these stories into great family films.”
“Being in business with Universal Pictures enables Scholastic to develop great films with one of the premier film studios and it also provides us access to the strong global connections to families throughout NBCUniversal networks including theme parks, television, consumer products and more,” said Richard Robinson, Chairman and CEO of Scholastic. “Movies today play an important and memorable role in the lives of the families and children that we serve. Working with Universal, together with Deborah on some of our most successful properties, will enable Scholastic to extend our rich library of titles to and beyond our current readership.”
Forte is establishing Silvertongue Films, a new venture under which she will lead efforts to bring a slate of selected Scholastic properties to the big screen. In order to dedicate her full time and attention to producing films, Forte will relinquish her role as President of Scholastic Media and open offices in Los Angeles and New York under the Silvertongue banner.
“I am excited about this new venture with Dick and Scholastic to focus on producing movies based on a selection of Scholastic’s treasured book series alongside some of the most talented executives in the film business,” said Forte. “This alliance represents a significant opportunity to add value to Scholastic and Universal’s portfolios while I get to do what I love most with properties I have helped to build over the years. I am most fortunate to be able to work even more closely with the Universal team which consistently demonstrates great taste, brilliant marketing, and a respect for filmmakers and outstanding content.”