Originally published by Random House in 1961, The Phantom Tollbooth was commissioned to be written by Norton Juster under a Ford Foundation grant as a children’s book about cities. After struggling to make headway into the initial idea behind the project, Juster eventually wrote what became the highly original fantasy novel with fellow housemate and illustrator Jules Feiffer with an overriding thematic impetus surrounding the importance of the pursuit of knowledge and a general love of learning.
In the years since initial publication, The Phantom Tollbooth has gone on to sell over three million copies, cementing its status as one of the cultural touchstones of children’s literature from the late 20th century. The book has been adapted multiple times over as a film, an opera, and a play, and it would appear as though one production studio in particular is eager to adapt Juster’s colorful narrative for the big screen once more.
According to The Tracking Board, TriStar Pictures studio executive Nicole Brown has just acquired the rights to produce a theatrical adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth from Warner Bros. with up and coming talent Michael Vukadinovich taking over the project formerly helmed by director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) and screenwriter Alex Tse (Watchmen). The movie will now be produced by Donald De Line of De Line Pictures and Ed McDonnell of Maple Shade Film.
Warner Bros. has been hard at work on a new theatrical adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth for several years now, though it would appear as though things might be moving in a decidedly new direction with TriStar taking over the production. Furthermore, it will be especially intriguing to see how things continue to unfold in the making of another movie based on Juster’s original children’s book considering how much the author reportedly disliked the first film version from 1970 at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The Phantom Tollbooth has become an iconic children’s book in the 50-plus years since initial publication, making Juster’s timeless work of imaginative fantasy as culturally beloved as such like minded works as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. On that note, here’s to hoping that TriStar can finally bring a filmed version of the infamous storybook narrative to life for a whole new generation of viewers (not to mention potential readers of the already well known work of fiction).
Screen Rant will keep you updated on all information related to The Phantom Tollbooth.
Source: The Tracking Board
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