Olivia Wilde has found her directorial follow-up to Booksmart, an original holiday comedy that has been acquired by Universal Pictures. For the last 15 years, Wilde has made a name for herself as an actress first and foremost. She has a wide-ranging filmography that includes a one-season role on the hit show The O.C., big-budget films like TRON: Legacy and Cowboys and Aliens, dramas like Rush, and just about every other type of genre film. But earlier this year, Wilde found her breakout role as someone behind the camera.
Wilde made her directorial debut with Booksmart, a coming-of-age teen comedy. The movie starred Beanie Feldstein and Kaityln Dever as best-friends who, on the last night of their high school lives, try to make up for the lost time of not being fun or going to parties. Booksmart earned ritical acclaim after launching on the festival circuit and currently has a 97% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The budget for the R-rated comedy is unknown, but Booksmart only earned $22 million at the box office. Despite what many view as an underwhelming haul, there was far from a lack of interest in what Wilde would do next.
After a heated bidding war, Deadline reports that Universal Pictures will distribute Olivia Wilde's next directorial effort. Details on the movie are slim, but it has been confirmed to be a holiday comedy based on an original idea by Wilde and Booksmart writer Katie Silberman, who will write this script, too. Both Wilde and Silberman will produce the untitled movie as well. With the news online, Wilde shared her excitement for the project and a quick story on how the idea originated in an Instagram post.
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Making Booksmart was the most fun we’ve ever had (and I saw Prince live so...) and now we are beyond grateful to be able to collaborate on a NEW project- one that was born on the set of Booksmart during a long series of night shoots when I only drank Coke and didn’t sleep for 5 days straight so you KNOW it’s a good idea! Here we gooooooooooo, @katierosesilberman 👯♀️❤️🎄
It is no surprise that Wilde's sophomore directorial effort was something multiple studios wanted a chance to distribute. And even though Wilde found success with a smaller studio before, moving to Universal may be a good thing for Wilde and this untitled comedy. One of the reasons why some believe Booksmart failed to have greater success at the box office was because of the rollout strategy and quieter marketing campaign done by Annapurna. They hoped that great word of mouth would propel Booksmart to financial glory, but a major studio like Universal should be able to put the necessary backing to the holiday comedy so that it can perform much better - if it is similarly praised that is.
There is currently no timetable for production on Wilde's new movie, but it won't begin immediately. She is currently filming her role in Clint Eastwood's The Ballad of Richard Jewell. But, since the film is a holiday comedy centered around Christmas, it would stand to reason that the holiday season is the ideal time to release it. Considering the timing of this deal, it is likely that the movie will be released near the end of 2020. This will give Silberman time to finish the script before production kicks off either late this year or early next potentially. Either way, knowing that Wilde has secured her Booksmart follow-up is exciting news.