Universal downshifts on ‘King Kong’ remake

Following a meeting with studio execs, Peter Jackson’s remake of “King Kong” is no longer on the fast track at Universal.

Back in development, “King Kong” remains a co-venture between Universal and Disney-owned Miramax Films, where Jackson has had a first-look deal since the acquisition of “Heavenly Creatures.”

Jackson was reported to have received $6.5 million plus bonuses to write, produce and direct the “King Kong” pic (Daily Variety, April 11). While the film had no specific start date, it was to be Jackson’s next film after “The Frighteners,” the thriller he helmed for U last year.

“Kong” is one of a slew of simian projects in the works. All the other projects come from Walt Disney Pictures, including “Mighty Joe Young,” to be helmed by Ron Underwood; “Ishmael,” with Jon Turteltaub at the helm; the live-action “George of the Jungle”; and an animated “Tarzan,” whose title character’s sidekicks are chimpanzees.

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