It is unusual, though not entirely unheard of, for two studios to be developing projects that sound similar to each other at the same time. Look no further than this year’s dueling “terrorists attack the White House” films White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Rarer still, though, is one studio developing competing takes on the same idea in-house before today.
Vulture is reporting that Universal has hired Hunger Games scripter Billy Ray to draft a screenplay that would reset their classic horror film The Mummy in modern times. The screenplay would be in competition with one currently being prepared by Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts. Presumably, which ever one the studio likes more will be handed over to attached director Len Wiseman to shoot. Alternately, Vulture’s source claims –
My suspicion is that one of them will be a ‘structure-and-body’ man, and one’s going to be a ‘character-and-dialogue’ man — and that they’ll then just gang-bang them together into one script, crediting both writers.
Universal’s approach is not without precedent. They used it before in the Bourne franchise while Miramax tried it for their ultimately aborted Bad Santa sequel.
Whatever script the studio decides to use will have to be finished by the summer, as that is the targeted start date if the film is going to make the studio’s hoped for Summer 2014 release date.
Personally, I think that developing two scripts from which to choose is a good idea, but if the studio is looking just to Frankenstein the parts they like from each into one, they’re really asking for trouble.