May 24, 2007 / 5:53 AM / 12 years ago

Warner Bros. scoops high-profile kids' book series

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. Pictures, whose “Harry Potter” series is past the halfway mark, may have found its next big all-ages franchise. The studio has come out on top of a bidding war for the rights to upcoming children’s book series “Skulduggery Pleasant” by Irish author Derek Landy.

The deal, which sources say is worth upward of $1 million, includes rights to all future books in the potential nine-book series. Landy also will adapt his debut novel for the screen.

Set in contemporary Dublin, the comic-horror-adventure novel is about a wisecracking skeleton named Skulduggery Pleasant, who’s a detective, and his young accomplice, Stephanie. Together they must prevent an attempt to bring back the evil Faceless Ones.

Acquired globally by HarperCollins after a major bidding war and released six weeks ago, Landy’s debut has been generating considerable heat in the kids’ lit world and is being translated into 25 languages. Landy, who grew up on comic books, computer games and martial arts — he has a black belt in kenpo karate — wrote horror screenplays before turning his attention to books. His much-hyped debut, which has been singled out for being cinematic and irreverent, reportedly got a seven-figure advance for a three-book deal.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which Warners will release in July, is based on the fifth of the seven-book series by J.K. Rowling.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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