EXCLUSIVE: Russia’s Wizart Animation produced this 3D animated adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale about a young girl who sets out to save her brother from an evil queen. Maxim Sveshnikov and Vlad Barbe directed the pic from a script by Barbe and Vadim Sveshnikov. Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) came aboard as producer and distributed the family pic in Russia through his Bazelevs company. Vertical Entertainment will release The Snow Queen stateside on October 11:
EXCLUSIVE: I can’t say definitively that the negotiations are going to work out, but MGM is in talks with Wanted helmer Timur Bekmambetov to helm Ben-Hur, a new adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, which in its time outsold every book but The Bible until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind. This all got set in motion after MGM bought a Ben-Hur spec by Keith Clarke (he scripted the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back), a package that came with Sean Daniel and Joni Levin attached to produce, and Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing. This happened last January, right after MGM got new funding and was flush with proceeds from the 007 pic Skyfall and The Hobbit. I have been chasing the possible deal with Bekmambetov for the past two weeks, and it seemed intriguing enough as another Biblical epic moving forward that I felt it was worth noting despite the fact they haven’t reached financial terms and I don’t know for certain that they will.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has made a whopping deal to acquire screen rights to Unholy Night, the new novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith will write the script, and he and KatzSmith partner David Katzenberg will produce with Heyday Films’ David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. I’ve heard that the deal is in the vicinity of $2 million upfront for the rights to the book and for Grahame-Smith to adapt it. The studio got first look at the book, as both KatzSmith and Heyday are based at Warner Bros. That is where Heyman produced the Harry Potter film series and where Grahame-Smith scripted the Tim Burton-directed Dark Shadows. Unholy Night, an action/adventure surrounding the Three Wise Men of the Nativity, will be published in April by Grand Central.
Setting up a film based around the birth of Jesus Christ gives Warner Bros its third high-profile movie based on a seminal religious story. The studio has been discussing the possibility of Steven Spielberg directing Gods And Kings, an epic-sized film about the life of Moses scripted by Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine. And Warner Bros recently set up a project being scripted by Joe Eszterhas and Mel Gibson (who has first option to direct) about the heroic story of Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee, who teamed with his father and four brothers to lead the Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies that had conquered Judea in the second century B.C. Maccabee’s triumph and struggle against tyranny and oppression where people gave their lives so that others would be free to worship is celebrated by Jews all over the world through Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.
EXCLUSIVE: In a match that seems ideal, Tim Burton is in early talks to come aboard Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs novel that 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment acquired last spring. Burton is in talks to develop the book as a potential directing project, and he would be involved in setting a writer to adapt the tale.
It involves Jacob, a 16-year-old whose childhood was filled with stories his grandfather told him about an orphanage for unusual children. Among the residents: a girl who could hold fire in her hands, another whose feet never touched the ground, and twins who communicated without speaking. When his beloved grandfather dies unexpectedly but leaves a message behind for his grandson, the teen heads off to his grandfather’s home on an isolated island off Wales. There he discovers the abandoned remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is in great disrepair and as Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, he can see the children were more than peculiar, they might have been there because they were dangerous. And he can’t shake the feeling they are still lurking around. Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are producing.
Maggie, the John Scott 3-penned spec script about the six-week metamorphosis of a 16-year-old teenage girl into a zombie, is back on the market. The spec was close to a deal with Timur Bekmambetov (I’d heard it closed), but …
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired an untitled science fiction thriller pitch that will be written by Brian Miller. He’s the scribe whose writing sample won a contest held by Timur Bekmambetov. That script turned into Apollo 18, the Dimension Films “found footage” pic that opens April 22. Brad Weston will …
Dimension Films has released a new trailer for Apollo 18, the latest fright film based on “found footage,” this one purporting to be a record of a NASA moon mission that was officially scrapped. Timur Bekmambetov produced it:
UPDATE: Fox is negotiating with The Devil’s Double star Dominic Cooper to play Abe Lincoln’s mentor Henry, the mysterious ageless guy who teaches Abe to kill bloodsuckers. The studio had been in talks with Joaquin Phoenix for …