Par pulls out, leaves 'World' to Anschutz

Philip Anschutz’s Walden Media has the weight of the “World” on its shoulders.

Paramount Pictures confirms that it will not act as the domestic distributor of Walden Media’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” which stars Jackie Chan and will be directed by Frank Coraci (“The Wedding Planner”).

Par made the deal last summer and had slotted the pricey pic as a holiday tentpole, with a Nov. 21 release date. The picture is budgeted in at around $110 million.

Despite Par’s departure, the pic will not cancel its March production start. Given the pay-or-play deal for Chan, as well as investment in elaborate sets, failure was not an option.

For now, financing comes from foreign sales made by Patrick Wachsberger’s Summit Entertainment. Walden, which is backed by billionaire Anschutz, covers the gap.

The film is based on the Jules Verne novel set during the Industrial Revolution. Chan portrays Passepartout, who steals a jade Buddha and seeks refuge with adventurer Phineas Fogg.

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