When a WSJ A-hed turns into a movie
Russell Adams, the deputy bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal’s corporate bureau, writes about what happened when a front-page story he wrote in 2013 about a group of 10 adults playing a country-wide game of tag turned into a movie, which opens June 15.
Adams writes, “The producer’s negotiating window closed without any word, and by April I wondered if the ride was over. Then one afternoon I got a call from a senior editor: ‘Can you come in my office right away?’ Our agents were on the phone.
“The producers had talks with Mr. Ferrell and Jack Black to star in the movie, as part of a package that had sparked a bidding war between Warner Bros.’s New Line Cinema and DreamWorks Pictures. Our agents needed to know my ‘high-end asks.’ I asked them if they could tell me what to ask for.
“We settled on a screen credit, a paid position as a consultant or other role, and tickets and paid travel and accommodations for six guests at the premiere. (The Journal’s share of the money, which it would split with me, was already determined.)
“New Line prevailed. Its winning bid granted me a screen credit, two tickets to the premiere and additional payments if the movie becomes ‘the next ‘Anchorman,’’ as one agent put it.
“Over the next few years the only real signs of a movie came from payroll, which alerted me each time my paycheck was about to grow, when New Line optioned the project for a second time in May 2015, and again when the studio purchased it about a year later. In the end, my earnings amounted to five figures—nice, but not enough to quit my day job.”
Read more here.