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U handed the keys to ‘Kingdom’

Sommers summoned to 'Magic'

Universal has acquired the rights to Terry Brooks’ “Magic Kingdom” series of books for Stephen Sommers to direct.

Scribes Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel have been hired by the studio to adapt the first book, “Magic Kingdom for Sale.”

Story revolves around a recently widowed attorney who, still grieving for his wife, leaves his old life behind when he responds to a mysterious ad and spends his fortune to purchase a magical kingdom. With his reluctant teenage children, he must unite the kingdom’s denizens and creatures to stop an evil demon bent on destroying the realm.

Sommers will produce the pic with partner Bob Ducsay through their U-based the Sommers Co. banner.

Andy Cohen, of Grade A, will exec produce alongside David Engel and Jason Lust of Circle of Confusion. David Alpert, who brought the project to Circle of Confusion, will also serve as a producer.

Brooks’ series includes five volumes, with a sixth to be published in 2006.

U theatrical production exec Jeff Kirschenbaum will oversee the project for the studio.

Sommers’ current projects with Universal include writing and producing a remake of “Flash Gordon” and developing U pics that include “Airborn,” “Flame Over India” and “The Big Love.”

Writing team Ganz and Mandel have recently written the adaptation on the upcoming Fox pics “Fever Pitch” and “Robots,” as well as rewrites on Col’s “50 First Dates,” New Line’s “The Notebook” and Disney’s “National Treasure.”

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