Lunch Lands Deal

It's a good thing P. Jennifer Dana is a magnanimous loser. After Ron Howard's Imagine outbid her for the film rights to Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children (Knopf, 2006), the Andrew Lauren Productions president met with Messud's agent Anne Borchardt when she came to New York on business. Over lunch, Borchardt mentioned a book her daughter Valerie Borchardt had sold, Michelle Richmond's The Year of Fog (Delacorte, Mar.). Dana instantly fell in love with the novel—about a photographer's quest to find out how her fiancé's daughter vanished from a San Francisco beach—and showed it to Semi Chellas, the screenwriter she had been eyeing for Emperor. Chellas's take convinced partner Newmarket to pony up a nice five-figure option (small change to the distributor of The Passion of the Christ).

The Power of One

With Grindhouse gasping at the box office, Bob and Harvey Weinstein can at least look forward to their upcoming adaptation of The Nanny Diaries (St. Martin's/ Griffin, 2003), based on the #1 New York Times bestseller by EmmaMcLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. MGM moved the film, originally scheduled to open this Friday, to a September release, clearing the way for the Will Ferrell ice skating comedy, Blades of Glory, to glide past the $100-million mark. Of course, success on the bestseller lists doesn't always translate to box office gold (just ask Corelli's Mandolin author Louis De Bernieres), but a look at the performance of the last five movies based on #1 New York Times bestsellers suggests the Weinsteins should have plenty to cheer about come fall.