Founded a year ago in Los Angeles, Adaptive Studios is an unusual venture that looks to find abandoned Intellectual property and revive it for production in a wide variety of media. The venture most recently launched Adaptive Books, a book publishing line that has just released a YA novel with plans to release from six to 10 books over the next year.
“We’re all over the map,” said Marshal Lewy, chief creative officer at Adaptive Studios. Lewy said Adaptive Studios looks for unproduced content that is “stuck in what Hollywood calls ‘development hell.’ We rescue the projects, reimagine and reinvigorate them, and bring them to an audience, ideally in the form of a new franchise property,” Lewy said. Adaptive Studios looks to produce this new content in all kinds of media, be it books (fiction and nonfiction), films and TV, web series, comics and graphic novels, children's books, apps and live stage shows.
Earlier this month, Adaptive Books released Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig, a YA thriller about four Philadelphia prep school teens—a nerd, a slacker, a perfect student and an athlete—who team up to rob the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The book came out of a deal with Miramax in which Adaptive bought the rights to a number of unproduced scripts. Coin Heist was adapted from a script called "The Hole with the Mint" by William Osborne.
Adaptive Books is also partnering with the Black Dog Tavern, the iconic Martha’s Vineyard restaurant, to produce a series of picture books by Tiffany Schmidt, illustrated by Andrew Theophilopoulos. The Black Dog picture books will be the next titles released by Adaptive Books. The series, called The Adventures of Black Dog, will use original characters to tell seafaring adventure stories for kids starring the eponymous black dog and a cast of talking animals, along with a captain and two teenage crew members who manage the ship. In the fall, Adaptive Books will release two more titles: Silence of Six, a YA thriller by E.C. Myers; and Shadow of a Doubt, a middle-grade novel by Skylar James.
Adaptive Books plans to release its books digital-first (as e-books) to be followed by a “supplemental print run,” Lewy said. All books will be released eventually in digital and print. Adaptive Books are available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other wholesalers and Lewy expects to sign a distribution deal when more titles are ready for release. All books will get a “significant marketing spend”; and AB has an in-house digital marketing team in addition to an outside PR firm.
Adaptive Studios has three other founding partners in addition to Lewy: CEO Perrin Chiles, COO and president T.J. Barrack, and head of business development Marc Joubert. Adaptive Studios may be a startup, Lewy said, but the principals have 40-50 years of combined experience in the entertainment business. “I’m a filmmaker, we’ve got executive experience, we’ve brought together a variety of skills,” he said. The venture has investors, there are six employees besides the principals, and a “handful of consultants and a network of freelancers,” that includes editors, designers and production staff. “And we’re hiring,” Lewy said.
Besides books, the company is also interested in films and television. AS is relaunching Project Greenlight, the 2001 film production reality show created by actors/producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as a new HBO series after acquiring LivePlanet, the series’ original production house. “Matt and Ben will return to the show. We’ve taken a pre-YouTube show and we’re going to relaunch it in a 2014 way.”
Adaptive Studio is also looking at the graphic novel category, “Adaptive Comics is coming,” he said, noting that the studio is negotiating over a number of properties. “Adaptive Books is putting out great titles and we’re excited about what we've got coming down the pipeline,” Lewy said.