Don Winslow's 'City on Fire' Mob War Trilogy Acquired by Sony in 7-Figure Deal

Sony has paid a seven figure number for the rights to author Don Winslow‘s upcoming crime trilogy epic City on Fire. The yet-to-be-published crime books from Winslow, who has penned the screenplays to adaptations of his novels like Savages and Satori, has already generated enough buzz to become one of the biggest book deals of the year so far.

Deadline reports that Sony Pictures and Elizabeth Gabler‘s 3000 Pictures, which is a partnership between Sony and HarperCollins, has acquired the rights to all three novels in Don Winslow’s upcoming crime saga, City on Fire. The deal comes out to the mid-seven figures plus performance bonuses.

Per Deadline, City on Fire is a reimagining of Homer’s The Iliad which “focuses on two criminal empires — one Irish, the other Italian — that control all of Rhode Island and have led a peaceful lucrative existence until a modern-day Helen of Troy tears them apart and starts a brutal war. The protagonist, Danny Ryan, is forced to grow from a street soldier into a ruthlessly efficient leader to protect his friends, his family and the home he loves. Fighting the Mafia, the local cops, the feds, Danny will build a dynasty or die trying.”

The first book, City on Fire, will be published by William Morrow in September, followed by the second novel, City of Dreams, a year later, and the third installment, City in Ashes, in September 2023.

Winslow is a respected name in Hollywood, with his novels like Savages getting starry feature adaptations, while his Border Trilogy is getting the small screen treatment at FX. It’s the combination of Winslow and the new take on The Iliad that made City on Fire one of the hottest book projects of the year, leading to this very fast movie offer. Deadline reports that Gabler and her book executive Drew Reed were working on a major offer by last Friday.

“The ancient Greeks gave us all the themes we still use in modern crime fiction – honor, courage, cowardice, loyalty, betrayal and tragedy,” Winslow said in a statement last week. “I wanted to see if I could tell that story in a modern context and still have it stand on its own.”

The Story Factory’s Shane Salerno will produce the films. Marisa Paiva will oversee for Sony. You can expect to see several of Winslow’s projects on the screen soon, with FX’s Border TrilogySatori set up with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, The Force set to be helmed by James Mangold at Disney, and Winslow’s popular Neal Carey series set to become a TV series with Rian Johnson executive producing.

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