I feel like the last three years have seen a spike in studios snatching up unpublished manuscripts for film development. I understand calling dibs on the rights to the next work from a novelist like Stephen King or Dan Brown, whose name recognition all but guarantees a nice return on investment, but I am a little puzzled at the transition from picking up spec scripts to picking up spec novels. Then again, I haven't been privy to the same information executives at DreamWorks have; their fast-tracking of Daniel H. Wilson's aways-off novel Robopocalypse probably makes a whole lot of sense to those who have taken an early look at it.

Or, perhaps more accurately, it makes a lot of sense to someone who looked at last summer's box office chart. Terminator Salvation and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen proved that romping, stomping robots are always kings of the opening weekend -- and even Duncan Jones' Moon proved that name-recognition wasn't a must and that robots don't have to be gigantic and people-hating to be profitable. Whatever the motivation, Robopocalypse "cautionary tale of man versus machine" has been all lubed up for the development process at DreamWorks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Though to not sound like too much of a pre-emptive hater, I'd like to point out that Wilson does have experience writing about robots, with two non-fiction books under his belt: How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion and How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth Against Aliens, Ninjas, and Zombies. I've read neither of those, which sound like stocking-stuffer gifts to me, but one of them is at least good enough to impress executives at Paramount, who have already given the green to an adaptation of How to Survive a Robot Uprising.

So has anyone out there read Wilson's non-fiction stuff before? Think he can at least match Transformers rather vanilla character work?
categories Movies, Sci-Fi