IP Picks🔎: Malibu Murder, Gothic Horror, and Hemp
➕ two basketball stories in time for March Madness and a comedic memoir
Welcome to The Optionist! As always, thanks for reading. The big story at the Oscars this year was the success of Everything Everywhere All at Once which won seven awards out of its 11 nominations. But it was the showing of All Quiet on the Western Front that caught my attention. It won four Oscars (out of seven noms), making it the second most-decorated film of the night.
All Quiet is a movie adapted from a 94-year-old novel by Erich Maria Remarque that's in the public domain. There's a lot of life in the classics — Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, and of course, Shakespeare remain some of the most adapted authors in Hollywood. Just this week, Guillermo del Toro announced he was going to make a new version of Frankenstein. Classics are the OG of pre-tested IP.
Of course, there's no cost to option material in the public domain (PD) since the copyright has expired; another reason the material can be attractive. We've featured a number of PD titles over the last year. Since we don’t have a stake in the material we feature, we're always looking to highlight what has the strongest potential for adaptation on the screen, whether it’s just off the presses or a century old.
All Quiet's success and del Toro's plans reminded me of two classic novels now in the public domain that we’ve highlighted in previous newsletters that are ripe for adaptation. Both were hits in their day, yet somewhat overlooked today. One's an early 20th-century action adventure story with relevance to modern times; the other's a horror gem we featured in our very first newsletter.
Subscribers can find both in our archive of past columns.
On to this week’s picks. We’ve got a mix of horror, murder and inspirational sports stories, including:
A gothic thriller set during the filming of a horror movie at a crumbling Italian castle.
A comedic memoir from a trucker turned (failed) hemp farmer.
An unsettling con story about grifter-gurus who infiltrated the life of a bipolar doctor to steal his $60 million fortune and directed him to take drugs which ultimately contributed to his death.
A new true-crime tale centered on the Walter White of Britain’s illegal gun trade.
An inspirational and heartbreaking sports story that follows a college team in the decade after its one moment in the spotlight .
The forgotten history of Asian American basketball revisited.