DreamWorks has bought the screen rights to THE 39 CLUES, an adventure series being launched this fall by Scholastic Media, per VARIETY. Steven Spielberg is debating whether to direct the project, which is a 10-book series that includes collectible cards and an online game.
DreamWorks co-chair and CEO Stacey Snider and Scholastic Media President Deborah Forte closed the deal.
Because DreamWorks is on its way out the door at Paramount, it was unclear whether the project would remain at the studio.
THE 39 CLUES launches September 9, with the first of the 10 books to be released over two years. The online game will also run for that time and will include a mystery young readers can solve for a grand prize of $10,000.
The series involves the most powerful family in the world, the Cahills, who count Napoleon and Houdini among their ancestors. The challenge to readers will be to discover the source of the family's power, which will be revealed through 39 clues hidden around the world and throughout history.
THE MAZE OF BONES, the first book, has been written by Rick Riordan, who has also outlined the entire arc. The adventure begins with the death of the clan matriarch Grace, who changes her will at the last moment. Her descendents are given a choice between $1 million inheritance or a clue.
THE 39 CLUES takes "creative leaps to expand the story experience from the pages of the books to multiple stages of discovery and imagination," Spielberg said in a statement.
Snider told VARIETY she thought there was enough material within the series for three or four movies. "Steven is very involved and passionate. This excites me as an executive but also as a mother. It is an educational, challenging interactive experience that hits kids where they live," she said.
Riordan is the author of PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS, a series about a 12-year-old who discovers he's the son of Poseidon.
Spielberg is currently working on a collaboration with Peter Jackson on TINTIN and is also set to direct an Abraham Lincoln biopic starring Liam Neeson.