In a match made in heaven, Walt Disney Pictures has picked up Adrienne Kress’ enticing new adventure series, THE EXPLORERS CLUB. Michael De Luca, who had been attached to the property since July, will produce under his Michael De Luca Productions banner. The Explorers Club, set for publication in Fall of 2016, is the first in Kress’ three book deal with Delacorte Press, and imprint of Random House.
The Explorers Club centers on Sebastian, a shy boy who teams up with the risk-taking Evie in search of her grandfather, who’s been kidnapped for a map leading to the fountain of youth.
In order to save her grandfather, Evie teams with Sebastian to reunite her grandfather’s old explorer team, the Filipendulous Five, who disbanded for reasons unknown.
The story alone fits Disney’s brand, as high-concept adventure stories are a staple for the studio. The Explorers Club immediately strikes favorable comparisons to the studio’s animated hit Up, which encapsulated a similar call to adventure. The studio is currently in production on a number of tentpoles, including family adventure The Jungle Book and a remake of Pete’s Dragon.
The project marks only the latest option for Kress, who saw her two award-winning children’s books Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and its sequel Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate set up. The Weinstein Company owns the rights to Alex, which notably was shortlisted for the Red Ceder and won the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award in the U.K. Timothy was also shortlisted for the Red Ceder and optioned.
In the world of children’s literature, Kress also co-wrote Hatter Madigan: Ghost In The H.A.T.B.O.X, a spin on Wonderland that hits shelves in March of 2016. Kress is also known for her YA works, having penned the well-reviewed paranormal romance Outcast and the lauded steampunk adventure The Friday Society, the later of which was also optioned.
De Luca is a prolific producer behind a number of hits, including Moneyball, The Social Network, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Captain Phillips. He’s next producing the ‘Fifty Shades’ sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, under his deal with Universal, as well as an untitled musical with Frozen star Josh Gad.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor