Universal has agreed to release Peter Jackson's King Kong in its current, three-hour long cut – a move which will stretch the budget of the Big Fake Monkey Movie to $207 million. Jackson had originally planned to bring Kong in at $175 million and about 150 minutes. Jackson's original $20 million contract on the film stipulated that he could be docked pay if he brought the film in over budget; presumably to avoid that, he's paying for the extra $32 million worth of effects himself. Still – three hours. $207 million. Y'all better not watch this one on bit torrent.
Robert DeNiro will star in Barry Levinson's What Just Happened?, based on the memoir by producer Art Linson. DeNiro will co-produce out of his Tribeca Films; Mark Cuban's 2929 will put up the green. Sean Penn will play Sean Penn (really). Shooting starts next summer.
Dreamworks has acquired Jonathan Lethem's magical-science novel, As She Climbed Across the Table. The story follows a "love triangle" between a particle physicist, an anthropologist, and a black hole. "When you are attempting a romantic comedy that
takes place in the context of theoretical physics, it is not a premise
you come across every day," said producer Walter Parkes. "It's a fascinating book, but
it will be a challenging adaptationThe deal was sparked when Lethem won the MacArthur Genius Award.
Bauer Martinez Distribution have picked up distribution rights on The Moguls, an indie comedy starring Jeff Bridges, Lauren Graham and Ted Danson, about an amateur pornographer "who brings together a motley group of friends and neighbors." Who the hell are Bauer Martinez? The distributor caused a minor splash at Toronto, when they beat some tough competition to pick up Danny Ayer's Iraq vet drama Harsh Times; they're also distributing new films from Andrew Lau and Amy Heckerling within the year.