Mac’s back in ‘Richie’

Seems like Macaulay Culkin, already the highest paid tyke actor in Hollywood, will get “Rich” after all, to the reported tune of $ 8 million. Warner Bros. announced Tuesday that Mac once again has been cast as the title character in “Richie Rich” for producers Joel Silver and John Davis.

This ends a three-month standoff between WB and the actor’s father/manager Kit Culkin, who earlier is said to have tested studiopatience by rejecting potential helmers like John G. Avildsen and Joe Johnston. The tactic finally cost his son the role, when negotiations were broken off and the studio went scouting for a new Richie (Daily Variety, Sept. 1.)

The new deal reportedly resembles the original, in whichMac would be paid as much as $ 10 million for an eventual sequel. A notable change in the deal hammered out Tuesday afternoon is that Kit Culkin no longer has director approval.

After Macaulay’s exit, WB chose Donald Petrie to helm the Harvey Comics adaptation focusing on an immensely wealthy little kid. Petrie’s “Grumpy Old Men” is currently testing well, making him a hot catch, sources added.

Over that period, the name of Elijah Wood — who co-starred with Culkin in Fox’s “The Good Son”– surfaced briefly among possible alternatives.

But sources said Wood was offered $ 1.25 million last week and passed on the offer, sending all the parties back to the drawing board. Wood co-stars in the Jon Avnet pic “The War” with Kevin Costner for Universal.

Speedy conclusion

So when the Culkins finally sat down with the other “Rich” principals this weekend, “an agreement was quickly reached,” according to the WB release.

Joel Silver of WB-based Silver Pictures in association with John Davis of Davis Entertainment will produce the pic, which Petrie will direct from a screenplay by Tom S. Parker and Jim Jennewein. Jon Shapiro and Joe Bilella will exec produce.

‘Nutcracker’ flap

Kit Culkin’s most recent industry spat was last month, when he went to the mat with “The Nutcracker” producer Arnon Milchan, demanding, among other things, that a Kevin Kline narration be cut. Mac, 13, has a prominent role in the dance pic from New Regency/Elektra.

When that situation was not resolved, “The Nutcracker” opened on Thanksgiving to a non-stellar $ 1 million without promotional cooperation from the Culkins.

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