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DreamWorks, Fox To Co-Finance Steven Spielberg’s ‘Robopocalypse’

By | Wednesday September 7, 2011 @ 10:29am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Steven Spielberg’s next film is so big, it needs two studios. DreamWorks and Fox are near a deal to co-finance Robopocalypse, a Drew Goddard-scripted adaptation of the Daniel H. Wilson epic novel about the human race’s attempt to survive an apocalyptic robot uprising. I’m told that Disney will release domestically and Fox will distribute the film overseas. It will open in the U.S. on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

Deadline broke the story that Spielberg was eyeing the novel as a directing vehicle, before he instead chose War Horse as the first film he directed for DreamWorks since Spielberg and Stacey Snider left Paramount and made a deal with Reliance and a distribution deal at Disney. We also revealed last October that he had committed to direct it. Doubleday published the book in June.

Fox and DreamWorks previously tried to get together back in 2009 on Harvey, where Spielberg was going to direct an adaptation of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a man who befriends a six-and-a-half-foot-tall invisible rabbit. Spielberg finally withdrew from that film partly because it was so difficult to find the right actor to play Elwood P. Dowd, the character originated by James Stewart in the 1950 film. Now, the studios have a Spielberg project they can team on.

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Summit’s Post-’Twilight’ Chapter To Be Underwritten By Book Adaptations

Mike Fleming

The start of Summit Entertainment’s trajectory began when the mini-major convinced Stephenie Meyer to sell her Twilight Saga book series after she’d been left so frustrated by how Paramount Pictures let it languish. Was it a billion dollar lucky break? As the vampire-werewolf series that fueled Summit’s recent $750 million refinancing comes to a close, Summit has bet heavily on books for its future franchises. Under production chief Erik Feig, Summit has been as prolific a buyer of books as any studio in town over the past two years. Most are conducive to young casts.

As Deadline predicted, Summit Entertainment has closed a screen rights deal for Veronica Roth’s young adult novel Divergent, which will be published by the HarperCollins imprint Katherine Tegen Books. It takes place in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into factions as kids are categorized based on human traits. A teenage girl and guy rebel against the labels, which is a very dangerous thing to do. The buying community has compared it to The Hunger Games in tone and violent content. Red Wagon’s Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher will produce with Pouya Shahbazian. The latter works for FinePrint Productions and stirred up some dust in the early deal brokering with what I’m told were high demands like 35% of the fee from whatever established producer came onto the picture, even though the book fell … Read More »

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Summit ‘AMPS’ Book Deal For Alex Proyas

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: With Alex Proyas poised to produce and potentially direct, Summit Entertainment has just closed a deal for screen rights to AMP, a near-future science fiction thriller novel by Daniel H. Wilson. The novel is set in a world where the technology designed to make the disabled whole, turns them into supermen. Deal was low six against seven figures.

It’s the second major happening for Wilson this fall, after Steven Spielberg committed to direct his novel Robopocalypse, about an apocalyptic robot uprising, for DreamWorks. Spielberg will start shooting the Drew Goddard-scripted film in January, 2012 and Disney’s Touchstone will distribute in 2013.

Wilson’s book has been at the center of an auction that has played out over the past several weeks. I’m told that aside from Summit, Working Title and Paramount also chased a novel that has a mix of scifi action and political allegory reminiscent of District 9. Wilson took the Summit deal because he was impressed by Proyas, who’ll shoot the picture at a modest budget in Australia under his Mystery Clock Cinema banner. Wilson is writing the book, and the plan is to hire a screenwriter who’ll take his novel pages and draft them into script form, the way Goddard did while Wilson was scribbling away on Robopocalypse.

AMP was acquired by Doubleday, which will publish Robopocalypse in June, 2011. Stephen Schneider (Area 51) will be an executive producer along … Read More »

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Steven Spielberg Commits To Next Direct ‘Robopocalypse’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Steven Spielberg has committed to next direct Robopocalypse, a Drew Goddard-scripted adaptation of the Daniel H. Wilson epic novel about the human race’s attempt to survive an apocalyptic robot uprising. Deadline broke the story that Spielberg was eyeing the novel as a directing vehicle last March, before he instead chose War Horse as the first film he directed for DreamWorks since Spielberg and Stacey Snider left Paramount and made a deal with Reliance and a distribution deal at Disney. At that time, the novel wasn’t finished, but Spielberg was so excited about it that it was already being storyboarded and designed as Wilson was turning in pages of the book and Goddard was translating them into the screenplay. Spielberg will start shooting in January, 2012 and Disney’s Touchstone will distribute in 2013. It puts Spielberg back into the large scale terrain that is important in his relationship with Reliance, because it is the kind of movie that can succeed on a global tent pole scale. Spielberg has two pictures he directed that are in post-production, Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn will be distributed in the U.S. on December 28, 2011 with War Horse following 5 days later. This might seem like a lot of action for one director, but remember, this is Steven Spielberg, and he has multi-tasked successfully before. Like when he shot Jurassic ParkRead More »

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