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Paramount Developing Film Franchise From Ology Book Series

Sometimes more is more.

With an eye on building a franchise, Paramount Pictures has assembled a writers room to begin breaking stories for film adaptations of the Ology book series, according to a report by Deadline. Because why would you make a bunch of movie series about vampires, wizards, or dragons when you could make one big series about all of the above and more?

Written and edited primarily by Dugald Steer, the Ologies are a series of encyclopedia-style fantasy books covering different themes for younger readers, which launched with the publication of Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons in 2003. Since then, the series has gone on to comprise over a dozen books, with diverse topics including Dinosaurology, Alienology, Monsterology, and that old classic field of study, Mythology. The most recent entry in the series, Knightology: A True Account of the Most Valiant Knights, was published in 2017.

According to Deadline, the studio is sparing no expense on cracking a story for the narratively unorthodox franchise, with a group of the top screenwriters of the moment having been assembled to work under the oversight of Akiva Goldsman, whose film production credits include The Dark Tower, Jonah Hex and a number of the Paranormal Activity sequels. Apparently, the franchise is being pitched as a family-friendly series built around a research institute studying the fringe fields that the Ologies cover.

The writers in the room include Jeff Pinkner, who wrote Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Nicole Perlman, co-writer of Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel and Detective Pikachu; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon; Black Panther and People vs. OJ Simpson writer Joe Robert Cole; Lindsay Beer, credited with The Kingkiller Chronicle, Chaos Walking, and Godzilla vs. Kong; and Christina Hodson, who wrote the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee.

The goal of the writers room project is for each of the assembled scribes to choose one of the books in the wide-ranging series and develop a treatment for it, working collaboratively with a team of visual artists Paramount has also tapped to work on the project. 

The studio, Deadline reports, is aiming toward producing seven scripts connected by an overarching plot. Goldsman himself will reportedly write one of the screenplays, with his previous writing credits including The Dark TowerRings, and Batman & Robin.

A seven-movie series is an ambitious plan, to be sure, and the studio is clearly betting on the popularity of the book series to get the movies off the ground. The Ology books have sold more than 18 million copies to date, and been translated into more than 40 languages, with several of the books in the series receiving their own spinoffs. 

It's not the first time a studio has attempted to turn the pseudo-encyclopedias into a movie series. In 2008, Universal Studios was developing a film based off of Dragonology with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and Fox began developing a live-action Alienology with Carlos Saldanha in 2012.