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Hollywood comes calling

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Chris Kuser, who is so very important at Dreamworks he doesn’t have a title on his business card, is in London, looking for great books to make into films.

We were very happy to have him down to the new Crow’s Nest for a Pret sandwich or two. (We were really pushing the boat out on the hospitality front). While we are sure he was keen to see what Nosy Crow was up to, Kate Burns, who’s known Chris for many years, was the real draw, we suspect. We forgot to take a photo, though, and have had to use one of Dreamworks’ Shrek and family instead.

He was saying that he expects that half of the top 10 grossing films in the US this year will be animated films: Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me and Dreamwork’s forthcoming Megamind. He said that others in the top 10 were live action family films, and that one of the impacts of the recession was to boost family film-going: if you’re cutting back on spending, you may not be able to take the family to Florida on vacation, but you can take them to the movies. We had an interesting conversation about the difference in levels of privacy between books and movies: books are a private experience for the child (who’s not being read aloud to), not necessarily shared by the parent; movies are a shared family experience… and increasingly they are thinking about how to appeal to dads, who are no longer allowed to duck out of family outings.

At least in theory, Nosy Crow’s child- and family-orientated publishing might provide some interesting matches for Dreamworks, so we’ll be keeping in touch as our programme develops… though we’ve experience enough to know that the journey from book to film is seldom either short or simple!

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