What’s this? Two adaptations of unreleased books greenlit this week? On Monday, we had Columbia picking up that theoretical book written by a prostitute, and today we’ve got Escape Artists and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment picking up the less theoretical (it actually has a release date: May 13) Benjamin Wallace novel The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine.
The book tells the very true story of billionaire Bill Koch paying $500,000 for some bottles of wine purported to have come from Thomas Jefferson’s collection and then spending more than $1 million on an investigation into their origins. The twist? Investigation says the bottles are fake, and Koch sues. Spoiler alert: that lawsuit was thrown out two weeks ago, but Koch isn’t done yet.
The best part of this, though, is that HBO Films optioned this same story back in October, albeit in the form of a New Yorker article called The Jefferson Bottles, and Picturehouse is going to give that one a theatrical release. Unfortunately for them, the writers’ strike began a week after the deal was cemented, so both these projects are on equal footing.
So what we will have once the strike ends is a race to theaters between a pair of seemingly identical productions, which I suppose is befitting a story that carries such immense significance in the world of wine (wine forgery was unheard of before this happened).