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Hollywood’s next bidding war is about to erupt. “Eruption,” the much-discussed upcoming volcano disaster novel from the late Michael Crichton and James Patterson, is about to be brought to auction, attracting a large group of suitors keen on landing the sought-after film rights.

The auction, being conducted by Shane Salerno at the Story Factory and CAA, will begin within the next two weeks, and could kick off as early as next week, Variety can exclusively reveal.

The project has drawn interest from most major studios, streamers and networks, as well as high-profile directors who have shared that they’d leap at the chance to helm a Crichton project. Projects created by the author or adapted from his work include the “Jurassic Park” franchise, “Twister” and “Westworld.” Crichton was also the creator of “ER,” which Variety is told brought in over $3.2 billion for Warner Bros.

Several A-list actors have reached out regarding the novel, which is centered around a man and a woman described as having a “Moonlighting” or “Fall Guy”-esque banter throughout larger-than-life action sequences.

While there are no official numbers on the table just yet, one source tells Variety that the auction is expected to snowball into a monumental bidding war, given the potential of these two highly successful authors. “There’s no comp for this: two authors with combined sales of 700 million,” they said, likening the collaboration to that of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg on “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

To this day, Crichton is still the only author who’s ever been associated with the top movie, TV series and book in the U.S. within the same week. Even 15 years after his death, Crichton’s name is everywhere in Hollywood in 2024, between this new book, the coming release of “Twisters” in July and the reported filming of a new “Jurassic Park” movie in August.

Patterson, meanwhile, has sold over 425 million books, spawning numerous adaptations including Amazon’s new “Alex Cross” series starring Aldis Hodge.

Variety is also told that “Eruption” is being set up as a franchise starter, with plans for multiple books and films. The story is described as having an even bigger scale than “Jurassic Park” or “Twister.”

Crichton spent a collective 25 years working on the passion project before his death in 2008. When his wife Sherri discovered the unfinished manuscript, she also found detailed notes, interviews with experts and two decades of scientific research. Sherri set out to get her husband’s work completed, only to learn that bestselling author Patterson was a big fan. When he picked up the project, he took care to adhere to the original author’s voice, holding onto the central themes that Crichton’s fans have grown to expect.

“Eruption” marks Crichton’s return to his most beloved setting of Hawaii; at the request of Michael and Sherri, the book is dedicated to its people. “To Hawaii’s own, this story is dedicated to you, the people of the famed island chain,” the dedication, translated here from Hawaiian, reads.

Hachette Book Group’s Little, Brown and Company will release “Eruption” on June 3. The book’s official description reads, “A history-making eruption is about to destroy the Big Island of Hawaii. But a secret held for decades by the U.S. military is far more terrifying than any volcano.” While the novel’s jaw-dropping action sequences surely won’t be cheap to film for whoever lands the project, Crichton and Patterson’s track records promise huge potential for whichever bidder emerges on top.



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