Open Road To Acquire U.S. Distribution On Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

EXCLUSIVE: Open Road, the upstart distribution company formed by theater chains AMC and Regal, is making its second big acquisition. Tom Ortenberg’s company is acquiring domestic distribution rights to The Host, the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer’s novel. I’m told that the there were at least three other distributors trying to get this and that the deal will be a seven-figure minimum guarantee, a healthy P&A commitment, and gross for participants that include the author.

Saoirse Ronan is set to play heroine Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls, parasites that invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer. While Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings that she is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life, which includes falling for Melanie‚Äôs boyfriend. The result is a complex, romantic and emotional human/alien love triangle. Nick Wechsler, Meyer, Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz are producing. Inferno’s Marc Butan, Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson are exec producers and Roger Schwartz is co-producer.

Ortenberg got Open Road on the map with a Cannes deal for Killer Elite, the action film that stars Jason Staham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, which has been set for Sept. 23 release. Rena Ronson of UTA Independent Film Group along with CAA and attorney David Fox brokered the Host deal. The film was one of the most prominent titles for offshore rights at the Cannes Film Festival last month.

Comments (15)

  • Any news on the other castings and extras?

    Comment by Mallory — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 11:48am PDT  
  • I would not call The Host complex. If anything, the idea of alien parasites using a human host has been done much better than this (see Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek :D S9).

    Comment by Jimmy — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 11:48am PDT  
  • Is this partly because of Universal Studios Home Entertainment distributing for both Open Road and Summit?

    Comment by ILDC — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 1:47pm PDT  
  • I sure hope this won’t be as lame as Twilight.

    Saoirse Ronan is a better actress than Kristen Stewart, so that’s already an improvement.

    Comment by Mr. Pricklepants — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 2:31pm PDT  

      Comment by Lurman Boots — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 3:37pm PDT  
    • I agree. Saoirse is a real actress, very talented, I wish her luck because I have doubts if Mrs. Meyer won`t interfere in the screenplay, in the production.

      Comment by LTavares2011 — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 7:46pm PDT  
  • pitched as Body Snatchers meets District 9, I suppose …

    Comment by jk — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 2:37pm PDT  
  • Anybody remember the Zeerks from Animorphs? Seriously, enough with the crazy hybrid love triangles. Even the 13 year old girls are getting bored

    Comment by Tuck — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 5:09pm PDT  
  • You guys aren’t giving Niccol enough credit. I have faith that he’ll turn a generic and ridiculous premise to a watchable and intriguing sci-fi movie. Inferno Productions wouldn’t attach names such as Niccol & Ronan (and I think both wouldn’t sign on if either one wasn’t involved) to a project they thought was shit quality.

    Comment by Brooke — Monday June 20, 2011 @ 9:30pm PDT  
    • @Brooke I very much agree with your brief comment. There are a lot of talented people involved with this project. Although I enjoy science fiction concepts, I don’t know much about this novel other than the basic plot-line as described in reports concerning the development of the film. It appears the main character/characters of Melanie and the Wanderer are two different entities and subsequently become one when the alien (Wanderer) invades Melanie’s physical being.

      In order to pull this duel role off successfully, the actress must be very gifted. The selection of Saoirse Ronan was a great casting decision. She is a truly special talent who will bring the kind of performance ability and riveting screen charisma required of this role.

      Comment by scastagnoli — Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 4:29am PDT  
  • Loved the book, love Saoirse, like Andrew Niccol–all good!

    Comment by Graham — Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 7:11am PDT  
  • Hmmm….Saoirse is a talented actress but I pictured someone else completely for the role of Melanie. She seems too young. She was 16 and just turned 17 a couple months ago. Disappointed! Hoping for a re-cast.

    Comment by lauren — Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 4:32pm PDT  
    • They’re not going to recast Ronan and it’s really hard to take your comment seriously be your lack of reasons of why you’re disappointed besides “she’s too young.” If you want another actress, you must give me an actress that can handle Niccol’s script besides Ronan. Melanie is about 17/18 in flashbacks, 20 when she is infected, and 21 when the novel ends. Ronan a tad bit older than she actually is, and rumor has it filming starts in early 2012 so she’ll be about 18 when all things are said and done. There’s a reason why book fans DO NOT do casting.

      Comment by Eli — Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 9:00pm PDT  
    • @ Lauren:

      “Disappointed! Hoping for a re-cast”

      The intelligence that Meyer attracts. Outstanding to say the least.

      Comment by Brooke — Tuesday June 21, 2011 @ 9:03pm PDT  
  • I thinks its a brilliant book that would make an awsome movie ! Cant wait !

    Comment by Marie-Anne — Tuesday December 27, 2011 @ 7:53am PST  

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