The first two projects in the agreement are based on comics set to be released later this year: Animax, about a boy who can who can absorb the abilities and characteristics of any animals he touches, will be developed as an animated series. The second, First Family, will be turned into a drama about the teen children of a newly elected president who have to grapple with high school.
• Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) will develop and direct the big-screen adaptation of Shrapnel for Radical Pictures.
The comic, from Radical’s publishing division, is set in a future where humans have colonized the solar system, leaving Venus as the last rebellious holdout. A self-exiled former Marine teaches the colonists how to fight back against the Solar Alliance.
• Comic artist Kaare Andrews will direct the action film The Hunted, based on his own screenplay. The movie centers on assassin who’s hired to kill a young girl but refuses to fulfill the contract.
• The oft-discussed sequel to 300 appears to be slowly making progress. The Hollywood Reporter’s Risky Business Blog has word that Frank Miller recently finished a draft of the graphic novel on which the movie will be based.
• Black Beauty, the gadget-filled car from The Green Hornet movie, was revealed during Preview Night by Seth Rogan, writing partner Evan Goldberg and director Michel Gondry.
• ShockTillYouDrop.com has a photo of the Comic-Con banner for Warner Bros.’ Jonah Hex movie.
• /Film rolls out a gallery of images from Preview Night, with a focus on movie and TV booths and props.
• Nikki Finke claims Comic-Con opened with “a whimper,” at least from a Hollywood perspective. Her correspondent in San Diego is unimpressed with the studio presence at the event.
• Sam Raimi will direct a live-action movie based on the popular World of Warcraft online role-playing franchise.
Legendary Pictures and video-game publisher Blizzard Entertainment will produce the film, with Warner Bros. co-financing and distributing. Raimi will tackle the film once he completes Spider-Man 4.
• Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera) has signed on to write and direct the bloody Abattoir for Barry Levine’s Radical Pictures.
The company’s comics division, Radical Publishing, is turning the property into a graphic novel, based on a concept by Bousman and partner Michael Peterson. Artwork from the comic will debut at Comic-Con.
Abattoir centers on a real-estate agent who must clean up the remnants of a massacre in a mansion he hopes to sell.
• Director Ryuhei Kitamura and writer Holly Brix are attached to Magdalena, the film based on the Top Cow Productions character.
Jenna Dewan (Step Up) and Luke Goss (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) already are signed to star in the feature about the descendant of Mary Magdalene who serves as the warrior and protector of the Catholic Church.
• Relative newcomer Zachary Gordon (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) will star in Fox 2000′s adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney’s best-selling series about a smart-aleck middle-schooler.
Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) is in negotations to play the female lead.
The onslaught of Comic-Con-timed movie deals gets an early start with news that Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin has picked up the rights to Terry Moore’s Echo.
Variety reports the deal was for “six figures.”
The follow-up to Moore’s long-running Strangers in Paradise, Echo debuted in March 2008 as an ongoing monthly under the creator’s Abstract Studios banner. The series centers on Julie, a young photographer who witnesses the explosion of a high-tech battle suit. The liquid shrapnel fuses with her body, turning her into a living weapon.
In addition to Watchmen, Levin has produced the Hellboy live-action and animated features.