Harvey Weinstein Pays $7 Million for WWII Script About Gay Code Breaker
The Weinstein Company has agreed to pay a whopping $7 million for a script about the genius mathematician who led the secret British team that broke the Nazi's Enigma Code, helping the Allies win World War II. The script is titled The Imitation Game.
The amazing payout makes it one of the most expensive scripts ever bought and is the highest amount ever paid for a script at the European Film Market.
The script follows the life of Alan Turing, a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist, who was known most as the Brit who headed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, the department that broke the Nazis' secret war codes. He also was influential in creating the concept of the algorithm and theoretical computer science.
But despite his great service to his country and the world, for that matter, in 1952 Turing was prosecuted for the crime of homosexuality, accepted chemical castration as a punishment, and two years later committed suicide by cyanide.
The film is set to star Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing. Keira Knightly will also star.
Last year, Weinstein also paid out $7 million at the Toronto Film Festival for the U.S. rights to Can A Song Save Your Life?, also starring Knightly.
Big money paid for a spec script is not always a guarantee that a film will be a hit. Some of the highest script payouts in Hollywood history resulted in total flops. In 2006, for instance, $3 million was paid out for the Steve Martin remake of The Pink Panther, a box office and critical bomb. In 2004, $4 million was paid for the script that led to the flop Eurotrip, a film that lost $7 million. And as far back as 1996, the script for The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Geena Davis as an amnesiac CIA assassin, was awarded $4 million. That film that lost $32 million at the box office.