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I just heard that Universal has declined to exercise an option to co-finance DreamWorks’ Tintin with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson set to begin filming in October. The decision was quietly made a few weeks ago. So now DreamWorks will look only to owner Paramount for the rest of the moolah in the same way the two shared financing on Dreamgirls and Transformers. Unfortunately, Paramount is presently without an overall financing deal to mitigate risk, but is arranging it on a film-by-film basis. I say Tintin — to be played by Love Actually‘s Thomas Sangster — sounds like an expensive but safe bet, considering that the beloved Belgian boy is a worldwide phenomenon, and that the two great filmmakers are directing and producing even though also participating as huge first-dollar-gross players. This latest wrinkle would be more interesting if, say, Uni’s decision hurt its about-to-become-closer relationship with DreamWorks. But it didn’t. As I already reported, GE’s Jeff Immelt and Uni’s Ron Meyer dined with Spielberg and Stacey Snider Thursday night while NBC Uni’s Jeff Zucker spent the better part of that afternoon with Steven planning out the rebuild of the fire-ravaged backlot.

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