{Exclusive} UPDATE: SOLD! Imperative Entertainment Beats Out JJ Abrams For “Killers Of The Flower Moon” With $5 Million Bid


clooney pitt leo ratner

next four

UPDATE (3.10.16):  ’s officially triggered the fiercest bidding war of the year.  As we exclusively reported on Monday, , , and Star Wars producer were just a few of the names vying for this property before names like Bruckheimer, De Luca and JJ Abrams wanted their shot at this massive deal brokered by CAA.

The latest:  IMPERATIVE has won the war for ’s Killers of the Flower Moon with a massive $5 million dollar bid. Imperative beat out a bid put together by JJ Abrams and his shingle with Steve Golin and , with attached to star. 

Imperative is headed up by Heroes creator , and with financial backing from . The company brands itself as a next generation entertainment focusing on the , , and financing of original & branded entertainment across all media. Their current in include Arabian Nights with Universal and Imagine and the adaptation of the Paula McLain novel Circling the Sun.

This comes just ours after we exclusively reported that the bids had eclipsed $3 million, and multiple offers had come in with at least $2 million, including a $2 million bid from , as agencies and producers were starting to hone in on directors and to build a package. CAA took their time to find the most strategic fit in the bidding war, and to secure big money for their client, Grann, skirted some of their own A-listers in the process. With the $5 million mega-bid from Imperative, however, the rest of the packages didn’t stand a chance.

Star Wars director JJ Abrams and his shingle had partnered with  fresh off of their Best Picture win for Spotlight – to take this for Paramount, with one major asset included: attached to star. DiCaprio and his had been in the mix early on, but eventually won the Warner Bros. territory with a co-financing package. Leo found a way back into this battle behind Abrams and Anonymous’s Steve Golin, and the sheer fact that DiCaprio was willing to team up with another outside of his first-look home base suggested the newly minted Oscar winner wanted this one badly.

We’re hearing Palmstar, headed up by CEO , , and partners and , spurred the high-roller bidding by pushing a $3 million bid. This is the same company that won last year’s biggest auction, the 2015 Hit List spec Collateral Beauty from Allan Loeb, after teaming up with Likely Story and paying $2.25 million for the package. 

Netflix made a late entry into the fray after putting together an offer with Scott Stuber‘s Bluegrass Films. Stuber was also working outside of his first-look at Universal.  is also made a move outside of his first-look deal by partnering with Blumhouse to take this into Universal, after and Clooney’s  partnered for Sony. Pitt’s Plan B – which has a proven track record of bringing Grann’s material to the big screen with The Lost City of Z – took this for New Regency. Kennedy Marshall took this into , but  ultimately decided not to throw their hats into the ring. Warner Bros. put together the aforementioned co-financing package with Ratner’s RatPac. 

, Red Wagon, , , Peter Chernin‘s and ’s were previously in play as well.

The bidding war began with CAA fielding nearly a dozen offers of high six against seven figure offers on Tuesday before countering to 6 of those offers, but as word got out, more of Hollywood’s heavy hitters wanted in on the action. The bidding war has reinvigorated a market that was trending down in the first two months of the year. But as the heat has been building around this property, we’ve seen another dozen major book titles and even more hit the market in just the past two weeks.

It’s a property so hot literally everyone in America is talking about it:


The book, from New Yorker staff writer Grann, isn’t set for publication until the fall, but it’s already triggered a feeding frenzy on the rights market. The non-fiction chronicles the real-life 1920s mystery surrounding the suspicious deaths of several Osage Indians, who were at the time among the richest people on the planet. The story follows the twists and turns of the investigation that eventually became the first major case solved by J. Edgar Hoover’s brand new FBI.

from reps the book, with of CAA handling the film rights.

Grann is the author of The Lost City of Z, the adaptation of which is currently in with Pitt’s Plan B, and he wrote the article The Brand, which is the basis for the new Showtime series from Narcos executive producer Jose Padilha. Grann’s latest is a period murder-mystery thriller, which doesn’t necessarily scream franchise potential, and has thus left some wondering why, exactly, the studios are swarming over it. For one, it shares elements with one of the biggest of 2015/16, The Revenant – which rode its A-List cast, red hot auteur director and excellent reviews to over $400 million worldwide and multiple Oscars. But this frenzy is also an example of the quality of the material trumping everything else; anyone who has had their hands on this manuscript insists it’s a remarkable read.



Josh Lyons | Managing Editor