Adaptive Studios is getting in to the digital-influencer feature film game with “Coin Heist,” an adaptation of the first young adult novel published under its banner Adaptive Books, which just wrapped production.
The cast is toplined by Sasha Pieterse (“Pretty Little Liars”) and Alex Saxon (“The Fosters,” “Finding Carter”) and social media stars Alexis G. Zall and Jay Walker, who collectively have over nine million social media followers.
The film focuses on a motley group of students at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school who decide to attempt an “Ocean’s Eleven”-style heist during a class trip to the U.S. Mint.
“Coin Heist” was an unproduced screenplay titled “Hole With the Mint,” stuck in development hell at Miramax Films. Young adult author Elisa Ludwig was brought in to adapt the script into a novel, which was subsequently published by Adaptive Books in June 2014. On the heels of the book’s success, Emily Hagins was brought on board to develop a new screenplay and direct the film. Although she is only 23, the Austin, Texas, native has already directed three features, the previous two of which (“My Sucky Teen Romance,” “The Retelling”) premiered at SXSW.
“I am a huge fan of heist movies,” said Hagins in statement. “When Adaptive sent me the book, I fell in love with the story and the teen characters immediately. Working with these amazing actors to bring ‘Coin Heist’ to the screen has been a fantastic experience.”
Representatives from Adaptive say it has not been decided if “Coin Heist” will get a direct-to-digital (or primarily digital) release like recent influencer-packed films such as “The Outfield,” “Expelled” and “Camp Takota.” But it would seem a likely distribution route for the film, given the high social media profiles of the cast and the company’s recent involvement in the streaming video space.
In November, Adaptive launched Project Greenlight Digital Studios in conjunction Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Pearl Street Films and Miramax, its two production partners on HBO’s “Project Greenlight” series. The studio’s goal is to find opportunities for emerging filmmakers through competitions and other channels, including an online marketplace where brands can engage with talent, and access to representation and multi-platform distribution opportunities.
Last week, Adaptive announced that it was teaming Pearl Street and top reality TV producer Pilgrim Media Group to produce “The Runner,” a reality-competition series that will debut on Verizon’s Go90 video platform this summer.
Adaptive’s publishing imprint Adaptive Books has released 10 titles to date and will publish an average of 10 books and graphic novels annually. The company recently revealed plans to bring its latest novel “DC Trip,” written by comedian and author Sara Benincasa, to the big screen in partnership with Van Toffler’s new studio Gunpowder & Sky and Bona Fide Productions.