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Legendary Acquires Rights to Global Bestseller ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 7/12/2017 Justin Kroll
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Legendary Entertainment has acquired the rights to longtime bestselling self-help book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” sources tell Variety.

The plan is develop a feature that appeals to Western sensibilities and to also develop a companion project for the Chinese market. Sources tell Variety that the book has become so popular in China that the author, John Gray, has made trips over the years to teach classes based on its themes.

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships” was released in 1992 and became the No. 1 bestselling hardcover book of the 1990s. The book discusses psychological differences between the sexes using the common metaphor that the title describes, that men and women are from different planets.

Studios have been trying to figure out how to turn the book into a movie since its publication, with Lionsgate being the latest to try to crack the code before the rights reverted back to Gray this past year.

The lack of a storyline in self-help books hasn’t deterred studios over the years, with relationship guides such as “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” being turned into romantic comedies.

Gray is aboard as a producer and the studio will now look to find a writer to create a story around the book’s themes. Sources were unable to say whether the companion piece would be written at the same time and released simultaneously.

The acquisition marks another strong play by Legendary Vice Chairman Mary Parent, who has been aggressive about going after known properties. Legendary made a play to acquire the rights to “Pokemon” last summer when the rights hit the market and also pushed hard for the Adam McKay-Jennifer Lawrence spec “Bad Blood,” which the company eventually landed.

Gray was represented by David Matlof of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman in the deal.

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