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Sony Pictures buys rights to Emoji movie: Weird business news

This week in weird business news…

In a reportedly seven figure deal Sony Pictures (SNE) outbid two other movie studios to buy the rights to a movie centered around…wait for it…emojis. Yep, those smiley faces and cartoon figures that are so frequently used by the under-20 crowd while texting. The emoji was created in Japan in 1998 but didn’t become popular in the United States until 2011 when Apple included an emoji keyboard in its iOS 5 update.

According to Deadline, Paramount (VIAB) and Warner Bros. (TWX) also unsuccessfully bid on the option for the film. The movie will be produced and distributed quickly because apparently another emoji movie is being pitched to other studios and Sony wants to get this out first. Reports say that Anthony Leondis, who has worked on the Kung Fu Panda franchise, will direct.

Comedians were quick to make light of the movie. Jimmy Kimmel aired a parody of the film staring Brie Larson on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.

After the success of The Lego Movie, motion pictures about toys and, um, smiley faces are now fair game for studios. 21st Century Fox (FOXA) is producing a Play-Doh film with Paul Feig, the man behind Bridesmaids, The Heat and the new Ghostbusters, set to direct.

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