Per Deadline, Sony Pictures and Elizabeth Gabler‘s 3000 Pictures have purchased the outright screen rights to author Don Winslow‘s City On Fire crime trilogy. The deal is reportedly worth seven figures.
Like most book/movie deals nowadays, the books have not actually been published yet. Sony and 3000 Pictures have acquired three complete novels that tell an epic crime saga. City On Fire, which follows the template of Homer’s The Iliad, will be published in September. The followup, City Of Dreams, will hit shelves a year later, and the third book, City In Ashes, arrives in September 2023.
The trilogy focuses on two criminal empires — one Irish, the other Italian — that control all of Rhode Island and have led a peaceful lucrative existence until a modern day Helen of Troy tears them apart and starts a brutal war. Protagonist Danny Ryan is forced to grow from a street soldier into a ruthlessly efficient leader to protect his friends, his family and the home he loves.
“The ancient Greeks gave us all the themes we still use in modern crime fiction – honor, courage, cowardice, loyalty, betrayal and tragedy”, Winslow said last week, when he revealed all three books are already complete. “I wanted to see if I could tell that story in a modern context and still have it stand on its own”.
Gabler and her book exec Drew Reed were reportedly on top of this deal incredibly early, already working on a major offer by last Friday while the rest of Hollywood was taking a Memorial Day weekend vacation. Their quick work prevented a bidding war, which would have driven the already seven figure price tag even further up.
This deal is not particularly surprising, as many of Winslow’s other books are already on the way to the screen. FX is turning his Cartel trilogy into a series, James Mangold and Matt Damon are working on an adaptation of The Force at Disney (technically 20th Century Studios), while Warner Bros. is developing post-WWII novel Satori as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio.
Obviously the City On Fire books are not out yet, so there’s no way to know if they’re any good. But Winslow is an acclaimed author whose work feels like it suits the screen particularly well. It will be interesting, with all these adaptations coming, to see which one turns out the best.