Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have optioned Thomas Oliver's book The Real Coke, The Real Story to adapt into a feature film about Coca-Cola's failed New Coke launch. The pair will write the screenplay, which is set in the 1980s and will show how Coca-Cola felt threatened enough by their rival Pepsi-Cola to change their secret Coke formula that had been in place since the 1890s. Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the New Coke launch in April 1985.
The story will tell how emerging Coca-Cola competitor Pepsi began winning over new customers with the help of an ad campaign known as the Pepsi Challenge. This led to the creation of New Coke. The result was a backlash of negativity that lead to over 400,000 calls and letters sent to the company, expressing their distaste for the New Coke. Coca-Cola announced in July 1985 that they were bringing back the original formula, now dubbed Coke Classic, while still selling New Coke, which was re-branded Coke II in 1992. The product was only available in the United States for a short period of time, but it continued to sell internationally until 2002, when it was discontinued for good.
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick put up their own money to option the book, but it isn't known if the project is set up at a studio yet. The writers are best known for Zombieland and G.I. Joe Retaliation, along with the upcoming Deadpool. They are also developing Watch Dogs, Micronauts and Epsilon.