Redo will reteam Thornton with 'Santa' writers

A correction was made to this article on April 30, 2004.

Paramount Pictures wants to go to bat again with “The Bad News Bears,” setting up a remake with Billy Bob Thornton starring and Geyer Kosinski producing.

Project will reteam Thornton with “Bad Santa” writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa as Par signed the scripting duo to a seven-figure deal based on their pitch for an updated remake of the studio’s 1976 comedy, which starred Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal. Par exec VP Ally Shearmur will oversee for the studio.

The original “Bears,” directed by Michael Ritchie and written by Bill Lancaster, was a solid performer for Paramount with $32 million in domestic gross. It spawned a pair of sequels, “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training” and “The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.” Original pic cast Matthau as Morris Buttermaker, a beer-chugging manager coaching a team of misfits in an ultra-competitive Little League.

Thornton’s turn as an alcoholic Santa in “Bad Santa” generated both outrage and solid B.O. for Dimension, with domestic cume topping $60 million. “It felt very organic to bring the ‘Bad Santa’ team together again,” said Kosinski, who manages Thornton and credited Brad Marks with originating the idea.

Ficarra and Requa are attached to write and direct GreeneStreet Films’ comedy “Jack Tucker” with Woody Harrelson starring.

The deal for “The Bad News Bears” is the latest move by Par to develop updated remakes from successful titles in its massive library. Its update of “The Italian Job” was its most successful 2003 release; its upcoming major releases this year — “Stepford Wives,” “The Manchurian Candidate” and “What’s It All About Alfie” — are all contemporary remakes.

In addition, Paramount is co-financing “The Longest Yard” redo with Sony as a major 2005 release, and the studio is developing remakes of “The War of the Worlds,” “Pet Sematary,” “The Warriors,” “To Catch a Thief,” “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” and “Seconds.”

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