'Winter’s Knight' Spec Script Sparks Studio Bidding War

by ScreenCraft Staff - updated on February 6, 2023

Yesterday, while Hollywood was busy preparing for the Oscars, a hot spec script titled Winter's Knight created an immediate bidding war among studios such as Warner Bros., Disney, and Universal. Yesterday, Deadline said the deal would “likely will be resolved before tonight’s big agency Oscar parties.”

Later that day, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Sony had won the bidding war to pick up Winter’s Knight.

About an hour later, Deadline reported that the news was released too soon. Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline wrote, “Premature stories are surfacing that Sony Pictures won an auction for Winter’s Knight, which Deadline revealed as today’s hot spec script auction. I’m reading in the trades that Sony won the auction, but am persuaded that they’ve called an election before all the precincts are in. In fact, Universal and maybe others are still squarely in the mix. Yes, Sony reached an agreement with the writers to pay $1 million plus, which is huge for baby scribes. Here’s the potential problem: The producer deals aren’t sealed — but more important, all of this is completely contingent on making deals with Kon-Tiki  helmers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, whose heat has a lot to do with why studios have been hot and bothered about this. They will require a mid-seven-figure deal to get this done, and that hasn’t happened at all. The clock is ticking, as everybody has one foot out the door to prep for tonight’s Oscar bashes.”

Winter’s Knight is a re-imagining of the origin of Santa Claus, putting St. Nicholas in the mix with Vikings elements. Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton wrote the script. Kon-Tikihelmers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg are attached as directors.  Lawrence Greyand Marc Platt will produce.

Previously, Lustig wrote the screenplay and story for The Thirst, as well as the short Blood Soldiers: Interrogation. He also acted in the short Love for Love. Thornton wrote the shorts Blood Soldiers: Interrogation and Through the Watergate.

According to THR, sources say this project is a $1 million deal that is in the process of the closing, though it may take a few days.

In other recent news, Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the wildly popular video game, Minecraft. Check out the ScreenCraft post, Warner Bros. to Develop Movie Based on 'Minecraft' Video Game.

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