Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment have pre-emptively purchased the spec 12/24, which was written by Matt Lieberman based on an original idea from Safe House scribe David Guggenheim. Guggenheim will produce with Madhouse Entertainment. Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will produce for 1492. The plot, in the spirit of Super 8 and Chronicle, sees two brothers who set out to prove Santa Claus is real using their home video camera. They get more than they bargained for when they end up joining Santa’s epic Christmas Eve ride. After inadvertently causing Santa’s sleigh to crash, the brothers need to work together to save Christmas. Lieberman most recently wrote Short Circuit for Dimension Films. He also wrote Disney’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride which just attached Peter Candeland to direct, as well as Evil Genius for the studio. Columbus, 1492 and Lieberman are repped by WME, and Lieberman additionally by Madhouse. Guggenheim is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse.
BREAKING: Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures have closed a fvie-year deal with Michael Witherill’s Rise Entertainment to develop and finance 1492′s films. The deal includes films that Columbus will direct and that he and partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe produce under the 1492 banner.
Films on the slate include an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Christ The Lord, about the formative years of Jesus Christ with script by Betsy and Cyrus Nowrasteh, with the latter aboard to direct; Home Front, an adaptation of the Kristin Hannah novel that Columbus adapted and will direct; and House Of Secrets. Latter is the first acquisition made under the new deal, and it’s the first novel in a trilogy that Columbus has written with Ned Vizzini. Columbus plans to direct that one as well, about three kids lost in a fantasy world trying to find their way home. The first novel will be published by HarperCollins next spring. Columbus is writing that script and plans to get in production early 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Karen Croner has been set to script Hello Ghost, the film inspired by the Korean comedy about a man whose failed suicide attempt allows him to see ghosts who haunt him until he grants each of them one wish. Chris Columbus will direct a film that will be financed by CJ Entertainment, which has a first-look deal with Columbus and his 1492 banner. Columbus set Hello Ghost up in February 2011 with Next Entertainment World, the Korean distributor and financier. Croner, who’d been known for dramas that included the Meryl Streep-starrer One True Thing, continues to make a switch to comedy. She scripted Admission, which Paul Weitz will direct with Tina Fey starring, and Croner just finished Kiss and Tango for Jennifer Lopez and producer Denise DiNovi at Fox 2000. She’s repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Getting feature directors to helm pilots was a hot trend this development season. CBS is already looking to extend it to next season, signing a deal with Harry Potter director Chris Columbus. Under the 3-for-1 pact, Columbus will develop three projects for CBS though CBS TV Studios and his 1492 Pictures. The goal is for one of them to go to pilot, which Columbus will direct and executive produce. This will mark the TV directing debut for the WME-repped Columbus, who helmed the first two Harry Potter and Home Alone movies as well as Mrs. Doubtfire and, most recently, the adventure Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. He also produced the upcoming DreamWorks movie The Help.