Peter Jackson’s King Kong

Remember when Peter Jackson was just some little filmmaker from New Zealand who made quirky little movies like Meet The Feebles and Dead/Alive? Then he went off and made Heavenly Creatures and got somewhat respectable, and he followed that with the The Frighteners, one of the most unique films of the 1990s, so misunderstood by the studio that they didn’t know how to market it? The guy who dreamt of making The Lord of the Rings into a sumptuous trilogy the way they should have been made?

Yeah, you remember him.

And do you remember what Jackson’s backup plan was, in case Rings didn’t pan out?

Yep.

King Kong.

During a promotional interview last December shortly before his first installment of Rings was released, Jackson was quoted by Cinescape that his team was “developing King Kong and The Lord of the Rings at the same time, and we decided to make King Kong first. Unfortunately, Universal canned the movie after we worked on it for about six months.”

Six months later, Rings has racked up a number of awards and nominations worldwide and has generated nearly a billion dollars in revenue in ticket sales and video pre-sales.

And Universalr

They’re ready to make Kong now, with Peter Jackson at the helm.

If the report I got from Mr. Transistorsan is correct, Universal and Jackson’s team are in primary negotiations to get the project up and running as soon as The Return of the King is released. And can you blame Universal for wanting thisr The remainder of their summer 2002 schedule is pretty bleak, thanks to bad management choices in the recent past. Their offering thus far, The Scorpion King and The Bourne Identity may both eventually sqeak their way into profitability after every last ancillary market has been bled dry, but neither will be fondly remembered in the Black Tower. Blue Crush is nothing more than a “we have to keep Grazer happy” throwaway title which will be their Allnighter for this year.

Universal is already looking forward to 2004, having already scheduled Steven Sommers’ next film Van Helsing for May of that year, and other studios already looking to 2004 as well. Paramount, Cruise and Fincher are getting set for Mission Impossible 3 in 2004, and Shrek 2 is already locked in on Dreamworks’ schedule for a May 28, 2004, release. And you know Fox already has one tentpole set for mid May of 2005.

Universal and Jackson already spent several months and several millions of dollars on developing the new Kong. The script is written, the production is designed and everything is ready to go. Considering the quantum leaps new digital technologies have taken since 1997, this beast might be the greatest of them all.

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