America’s Dad Tom Hanks is really cranking out those dad movies out, isn’t he? His latest, an adaptation of the bestselling Swedish novel A Man Called Ove—the movie is titled A Man Called Otto—has sold to Sony in a record European Film Market deal valued at around $60 million, Deadline reports.
Sony is planning to give the film a theatrical release in over 2,000 screens this Christmas, in a major show of confidence for the Marc Forster-directed project. The hot package inspired a bidding war that attracted several studios, indie outfits, and a couple of streamers, but ultimately, Sony’s commitment to the big screen experience is what sealed the deal. The previous EFM record was held by The Pale Blue Eye, a period thriller that’ll unite director Scott Cooper and star Christian Bale. The package sold to Netflix for a reported $55 million.
A Man Called Otto marks Forster’s reunion with his Finding Neverland writer David Magee, who earned an Oscar nomination for his work on that film. Forster’s last feature was the somber Disney hit Christopher Robin. Since then, he’s directed the Lionsgate war drama White Bird: A Wonder Story, due out later this year.
Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, expressed his excitement at the acquisition, and said that he feels like he “hit the lottery.” In his own words:
“What an amazing all-star constellation of talent: Tom Hanks in an iconic role and an exceptional director in Mark Forster; outstanding producers in Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro; exquisite screenplay from David Magee; a worldwide best-selling book; and our long-time partner, SF Studios. Elizabeth Gabler, myself and Sony have had the privilege of working with all of these giants before, but this time we feel like we hit the lottery.”
A Man Called Otto is due to begin filming on location in Pittsburgh later this month. Co-starring with Hanks are Mariana Treviño (Overboard), Rachel Keller (Legion) and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (6 Underground). The source novel was previously adapted into a hit Swedish language film, directed by Hannes Holm and starring Rolf Lassgård in the title role.
Fredrik Wikström Nicastro (A Man Called Ove) of SF Studios serves as producer with Hanks, Rita Wilson and Gary Goetzman. Forster and Renée Wolfe will serve as executive producers through their production company 2DUX2.
Hanks‘ last three films have all gotten streaming releases in some way; Apple TV+ bought his World War II thriller Greyhound for a reported $70 million, News of the World debuted internationally on Netflix, and the star returned to Apple with the lowkey science-fiction survival drama Finch.
Stay tuned for more updates on A Man Called Otto. Check out the official synopsis for the film here:
The film will follow Otto (Hanks), a grumpy, isolated widower with staunch principles, strict routines and a short fuse who gives everyone in his neighborhood a hard time as he watches over it like a hawk. Just as it seems like he’s finally given up on life, an unlikely and reluctant friendship develops with his new neighbors. Little by little, Otto undergoes a subtle transformation.