Adaptive Studios, an unusual media venture that acquires and revives abandoned content, has purchased the complete literary estate of Zane Grey, the classic author credited by some with establishing the American western genre.
Adaptive cofounder T.J. Barrack told PW that Adaptive plans to revive the Zane Grey estate and develop the novels for a contemporary audience across a variety of media and formats including digital, TV, film, and publishing.
Barrack said that the Grey estate includes about 133 novels (including several books written by Grey’s son and grandson). Adaptive will own and manage all rights related to Grey's name and likeness.
“The estate has been dormant in recent years; there hasn’t been a coherent publishing program that capitalizes on the brand. We want to rebrand the estate and bring it to a new generation and to older fans,” Barrack said.
Best known as the author of the classic western novel, Riders of the Purple Sage, which was first published in 1912, Grey was one of the first millionaire novelists. His books established the themes and formula of the modern western and rights to his novels were purchased for films in early Hollywood. More than 100 movies have been made from Grey’s novels; and the TV series “Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater,” ran for five seasons during the 1950s.
Barrack said Adaptive was still sorting out plans for the Grey estate, but he cited the recent acquisition and revival of a number of well-known literary estates, among them the estates of Agatha Christie, which have been used to create new media projects,
“This acquisition will bring everything in the Grey estate under one roof,” Barrack said, bringing “new life to Grey’s personal legacy, and also revive his body of work.”
“It’s a very extensive library and the real power in the estate is having everything together. Zane Grey has a long history as a brand and we see a huge upside to bringing this work back,” Barrack said.