Encyclopedia BrownHoward Deutsch currently owns the rights to the Encyclopedia Brown franchise, and on Monday he began (via lawyers, of course) to shop a package around to the major Hollywood studios. Reportedly included in the package are "movie rights, an action-adventure script, the rights to ancillary markets, like video games and merchandising" and the involvement of Ridley Scott, who seems to be a partner in the proposed Brown deal, in some way. While this sounds somewhat encouraging on its surface, it's a bit more complicated than it looks.

In fact, there is bad blood between Deutsch (who acquired the multimedia rights to the series for $25,000 in 1979) and Donald J. Sobol, the author of the books and the character's creator. Sobel sued Deutsch over ownership rights in 1983 and demanded $20 million; that suit was settled, as was one he brought against HBO for their Encyclopedia Brown series. While Sobel admits that Deutsch still owns the rights, he's displeased about it to say the least, saying of the producer, "I will not identify with the name you used. Don't talk to me about that name." Ouch. At this point, Sobel is waiting until the day the rights revert to him (everyone agrees this will eventually happen, but when it will occur is unclear), and hopes that his negative posture about a movie ("If someone starts to produce movies in a year, and I take back the rights, they're going to be stuck") will keep the bidding war Deutsch and Scott are looking for from ever developing.

So it's safe to assume that it's going to be a while, if an Encyclopedia Brown movie happens at all. (Random trivia to mess with you head while you wait: Warner Brothers almost made one in the 1980s. Their version would have starred Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn - trying to imagine that movie boggles the mind, but it's a safe bet that they decided to age Encyclopedia up a bit from 10.)
categories Movies, Cinematical