DreamWorks Studios has acquired the feature film rights to EA's popular video game franchise, Need for Speed, it was announced jointly today by DreamWorks CEO and Co-Chair Stacey Snider and EA President of Studios Frank Gibeau.
Brothers George Gatins and John Gatins developed the original story with George writing the feature's screenplay. The screenplay is based on the Need for Speed series, but is not based on an individual game. EA will produce along with John Gatins and Mark Sourian. Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) is attached to direct, and the project will be fast-tracked at DreamWorks with a target production start date for early next year, for a 2014 release.
The film adaptation will be a fast-paced, high-octane film rooted in the tradition of the great car culture films of the 70s while being extremely faithful to the spirit of the video game franchise. In Need for Speed, the cars are hot, the racing is intense and the story keeps players at the edge of their seat.
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"I'm excited about getting back into the creative trenches with John and George Gatins and my partners at EA to bring to life an exhilarating script based on an epic video game that seems to have been made for the movies," said Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Chairman. "This is a big piece of business for DreamWorks and we are grateful to Frank Gibeau, Pat O'Brien, Kevin Maher and John and George for choosing us to deliver their goods."
"George, John and EA brought a very compelling story to us which we believe is going to make a fun, cool movie franchise," said Stacey Snider, CEO and Co-Chair of DreamWorks. "With such a large following around the globe, we're excited to make a film that does justice to the popular underlying video game series."
"We are thrilled to be in business with our friends Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider and the entire DreamWorks team," said Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels. "They are the perfect partner to take Need for Speed to the big screen by creating the exciting action film that we have always envisioned."
"It's fantastic to be working with a team that shares not only our love of cars, but also our passion for creating blockbuster action experiences. This collaboration will be greatly enhanced with the team at DreamWorks - which is a great home for the Need for Speed franchise," said Patrick Soderlund, Executive Vice President, EA Games Label. Added Pat O'Brien, Vice President of EA Entertainment: "Working with John and George to develop the script has truly been an outstanding experience."
Need for Speed is the premier racing game in the video game industry and one of EA's best-selling video game franchises. Since the release of the first title, the series has sold more than 140 million units worldwide, generating an estimated $4 billion in retail revenue, making it one of the biggest franchises in video gaming.
Need for Speed serves as a reunion with both George Gatins and John Gatins with DreamWorks. George was an executive producer on the studio's 2010 film She's Out of My League. John's previous projects with DreamWorks include the 2005 film Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story which he wrote and directed. He also wrote the script for last year's Real Steel and has been working on the script for its sequel. He recently wrote the script for Flight which will be released by Paramount later this year.
Both EA and John and George Gatins are represented by UTA, who negotiated the deal.