Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Director Andrew Adamson has begun production on an enterprising family-oriented feature film that marries James Cameron’s 3D wizardry with the precision and spectacle of Cirque du Soleil. I’m told the untitled film is a hybrid combining narrative storytelling with Cirque performances that are being captured in 3D from different themed Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas. Those performances serve as the backdrop of a magical world where the film’s lead character has been transported.

The film is being financed primarily by Cirque du Soleil, and Cameron is serving as producer. Also producing are Reel FX Entertainment partners Cary Granat and Ed Jones, Cirque du Soleil, and Adamson’s Strange Weather Films’ partner Aron Warner. The intention is for this to  launch a series of family features that incorporate Cirque du Soleil into their storylines. Adamson, who directed the first two installments of the Shrek and Chronicles of Narnia franchises, hatched the story for the first film. He’s currently in New Zealand, shooting the narrative sequences that will give the movie its shape. He has also worked with Cameron already in capturing some of the Cirque du Soleil footage using 3D cameras.

The project is about one-third completed, and I’m told that major distributors have been shown sample footage. Several are interested in making a deal, and I’m told that a distributor will likely be locked before production wraps. It is unclear whether they will make a deal beyond domestic, though.

Cameron, who recently committed to direct two more installments of Avatar, is separately producing two other high profile 3D films.  There is a remake of Fantastic Voyage at Fox, and the Guillermo Del Toro-directed adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness at Universal. Adamson is executive producer of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which opens Friday.

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