Unlike Ebeneezer Scrooge before his ghost-inspired transformation, Apple isn’t afraid to spend tons of money. The company has won a bidding war for a new take on A Christmas Carol from Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. Netflix, Warner Bros., and Paramount were all vying for the movie, but it was Apple who emerged the victor, agreeing to large chunks of change for Reynolds and Ferrell, ensuring that they’ll both have happy holidays.
THR has the scoop on Apple scoring a big win with A Christmas Carol. Even though Charles Dickens’ immortal holiday classic has been adapted to the screen over and over again, interest in this project was at an all-time high, likely due to the talent involved. Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds will both produce and star in the project, which is being billed as a live-action musical.
The report indicates that “Apple moved aggressively as it seeks to make an impact in the original features space.” While we don’t know the official numbers behind the deal, Variety has some info that sheds a little light on the matter. At one point, Netflix was in the lead to snap up the rights to the film. Reynolds was asking for $35 million and Ferrell wanted around $25 million. Apple coming out the victor here and besting Netflix strongly implies they offered Reynolds and Ferrell even more dough.
The Variety report adds that Apple came in and “blew everyone out of the water.” They also allowed the filmmakers to retain the rights to the original music for the movie, as well as agreeing to have the film’s copyright to revert back to the filmmakers in about 20 years – something that almost never happens. In short, Apple really, really wanted to get their hands on A Christmas Carol, and were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen.
There’s no word on which characters Ferrell and Reynolds will be playing, or how this adaptation might differ from previous incarnations. Even the musical element isn’t new – both A Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Scrooge with Albert Finney added songs to the Dickens story. In A Christmas Carol, miserly jerk Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who give him glimpses of his past, present, and future, all in the name of changing his wicked ways – just in time for Christmas. Sean Anders and John Morris, the team behind the Daddy’s Home films, are set to write and direct this new take.