Vampire Chronicles rights bought by Universal Pictures

Since Rice's first novel in 1976 the Chronicles series has sold 80 million copies

Hollywood studio Universal Pictures has indicated its intentions to create their very own vampire franchise by buying up the rights to Anne Rice’s series of vamp based novels The Vampire Chronicles.

In a deal that was announced on Thursday, Universal said that they had bought the rights for Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment, with an eye on producing a series of films over the coming years.

As part of the deal they will hold the rights for all eleven Vampire Chronicles novels including The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned and Rice’s first novel Interview with a Vampire.

The deal will also include the adapted screenplay for The Tale of the Body Thiefthe fourth book of the Vampire Chronicles, which was written by Rice’s son Christopher Rice.

According to reports, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci who have producing credits on the Tranformers Franchise and Mission Impossible III will be brought in to produce the films.

Since the first book in 1976, the series of novels that follows vampire and former French nobleman Lestat de Lioncourt through the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. This popularity has led to screen adaptations which have varying degrees of success.

In 1994, Brad Pitt starred opposite Tom Cruise in Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire. The film won a number of positive reviews receiving two Academy Award nominations and grossed  over $200 million at the box office.

This was followed by Queen of the Damned in 2002 starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend. The film received a wave of criticism from fans and reviewers alike; however, it  did relatively well at the box office grossing $45 million.

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