The Tom Hanks Comedy, A Man Called Otto, Sells To Sony For A Record-Setting $60 Million At EFM

It's already common knowledge that Tom Hanks is America's sweetheart, but everyone's favorite good guy actor just set a massive record at the European Film Market. The film "A Man Called Otto," from SF Studios just sold to Sony Pictures for a hefty sum of $60 million. This makes the Hanks-starring comedy the most expensive deal in EFM history, usurping the record previously held by Netflix when they acquired "The Pale Blue Eye" last year for $55 million. "A Man Called Otto" comes from director Marc Forster ("Monster's Ball," "Finding Neverland," "Quantum of Solace") and is an adaptation of Fredrik Backman's bestseller, "A Man Called Ove."

Well, studios must be feeling really good about "A Man Called Otto," because it sparked a bidding war with Sony nabbing the rights for the film's worldwide distribution in the process. The film is set to go into production later this month in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a cast including Mariana Treviño ("Narcos: Mexico"), Rachel Keller ("Legion", and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo ("Goliath). Academy award-nominated writer David Magee is adapting Backman's novel for the screen and will be executive producing as well. SF Studios' Fredrik Wikström Nicastro is producing the film with Rita Wilson and Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Forster and Renée Wolfe are executive producing through their company 2DUX2, and SF Studios is financing the film.

What is A Man Called Otto About?

The film has Hanks playing against type, telling the story of a cantankerous widow named Otto who spends his days being a persnickety old grouch to his neighbors, spending quality time with his wife's grave, and attempting to take his own life. Otto likes to be left alone but when a new family moves in next door, the story pivots into feel-good territory. From all that we've heard, "A Man Called Otto" feels like the next step in Hanks' "Hero's Journey" evolution.

"What an amazing all-star constellation of talent: Tom Hanks in an iconic role and an exceptional director in Mark Forster; outstanding producers in Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro; exquisite screenplay from David Mcgee; a worldwide best-selling book; and our long-time partner, SF Studios," said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures' Motion Picture Group. "Elizabeth Gabler, myself and Sony have had the privilege of working with all of these giants before, but this time we feel like we hit the lottery."

"We are thrilled to partner with Sony, who have consistently shown their commitment to film and filmmakers," added Rita Wilson. "In this era, which offers so many ways to be entertained, we applaud Sony's commitment to theatrical exhibition."