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We Three Kings go epic as Warner Bros. picks up 'Unholy Night'

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When last we spoke with Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg, the producing duo were putting together a pitch for a movie version of SGS’ recently finished novel Unholy Night.

It must have gone well. Today, Warner Bros. picked up the rights to the book in what Deadline reports was in the neighborhood of a $2 million deal.

The story is a revisionist take on the Christmas story of the three traveling wise men, but with a sinister, action-oriented edge. Here is how Grahame-Smith, author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, described it to EW:

“That is a huge swords and sandals epic, and very dark, and very expensive. We’re going to have to partner with another big producer to get it off the ground, but that’s something we hope to get going.”

The producer who joined forces with them is David Heyman, who has a rich (and I mean RICH) history of converting books to movies as producer of the Harry Potter series, also released by Warner Bros.

The studio signed a first-look deal with the duo’s KatzSmith Productions company this summer, with plans to work on a Beetlejuice sequel as well as other projects. This would be the biggest yet.

Reached for comment today, Grahame-Smith declined to reveal any plot points, but said: “We’re so grateful to Warner Brothers, and so excited to be making Unholy Night at our new home studio.  And we’re equally excited to be producing alongside David Heyman.  No one has a better track record of turning books into incredible films.”

Grahame-Smith previously said he would get to work quickly on the script for Unholy Night if Warner Bros. sparked to the pitch. No word yet on what the timeline for the project would be.

But one can’t help but wonder — will this be the big, alt-Christmas saga around this time a few years from now?

On Twitter: @Breznican