February 20, 2009 / 5:23 AM / 10 years ago

Fox buys rights to "We Bought a Zoo"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Hoping to conjure the same kind of box-office magic it had with “Marley & Me,” 20th Century Fox has picked up the rights to “We Bought a Zoo,” a memoir by Benjamin Mee.

Published by Weinstein Books in September, the book is a chronicle of how the author and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo, replete with 200 exotic animals, in the English countryside.

While caring for his wife, who was dying of brain cancer, Mee and his children had to deal with escaped tigers, raise endangered animals, work with an eclectic skeleton crew and ready the zoo for a reopening.

Mee was the subject of a BBC documentary, “Ben’s Zoo.”

Fox’s “Marley & Me,” based on the bestseller by John Grogan, was a surprise hit, grossing $141 million domestically.

Julie Yorn (“Max Payne”), who has a first-look deal with the studio, will produce the film. A screenwriter has not yet been chosen to adapt the material.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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