Sony, Warner Bros and Universal had also pursued the New Zealander, whose ongoing legal spat with New Line meant the studio with whom he had created The Lord Of The Rings knew it need not apply. The pricetag for the project is believed to be in the $80m range.
Jackson will begin shooting in October in Pennsylvania and New Zealand, and Paramount will handle worldwide distribution.
Jackson will direct from a screenplay he co-wrote with Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. Carolynne Cunningham, Jackson, Walsh and Aimee Peyronnet will produce. Film 4's Tessa Ross, Ken Kamins and Jim Wilson will serve as executive producers.
The story is told from the point of view of a murdered girl who watches over her family while trying to deal with her desire for vengeance against a man who is planning to kill again. The Lovely Bones was published in 2002.
'We are thrilled that DreamWorks Studios has been able to acquire the film rights to this story that has captivated so many people,' DreamWorks chief executive officer and co-chairman Stacey Snider said. 'In the hands of Peter Jackson, we have a master of cinematic storytelling to bring it to the screen.'
'When you read an emotionally magical story that cries out to be turned into a major motion picture, you hope its winding path can find its way to the door of your own company,' DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg said. 'Peter Jackson has made this possible and I am so grateful to him, Fran and Film 4 for giving The Lovely Bones a home at DreamWorks.'
'Alice Sebold's story affects readers in deeply personal ways and the most important consideration for me was finding a studio partner who felt an equally strong connection with the book,' Jackson said.
'Not just in sharing our emotional reaction to the story, but our desire to see it told in an original, adventurous way on screen. I eagerly look forward to the days and months ahead with Stacey, Steven, Adam Goodman [DreamWorks president of production] and the team at DreamWorks.'
'Film 4 have been nurturing this project for over five years,' Film 4's Ross said. 'And now, to end up with Peter, Fran, Philippa and Dreamworks all together, is really as good as it gets. All of us at Film 4 are over the moon.' Lynne Ramsay had originally been attached to direct, but was replaced when Jacskon took over the project.
'All of us at DreamWorks join in welcoming Peter into our family of creative film-makers,' Goodman said. 'We look forward to working with him and giving him all the support that he and his team need and deserve.'