Summit, Mandalay get in the 'Zone'

Summit Entertainment and Mandalay Pictures are launching “Countdown,” acquiring film rights to Richard Matheson’s “Death Ship” short story and “Twilight Zone” episode.

Project is being produced by Nick Wechsler. Matheson’s original story centers on astronauts who land on a mysterious planet and discover their own bodies in the wreckage of a duplicate of their ship. They’re forced to find a way out of the time loop that has them trapped amid hostile creatures and a series of contentious characters.

“Countdown” is being rewritten by scripting team Michael Brandt and Derek Haas from an original draft by Scott Burn and Stephen Gregg.

Brandt and Haas, who have teamed on “Matt Helm,” “Red Rabbit” and “The Fast and the Furious 2,” will exec produce.

Patrick Wachsberger and Erik Feig are overseeing for Summit; exec VP Peter Strauss will shepherd for Mandalay. Project was brought in by Summit’s Adrienne Biddle.

It’s the first feature project that Mandalay and Summit have paired on to produce. Summit said “Countdown” marks its continued expansion into original film production beyond its core distrib biz.

Mandalay Pictures is part of the Mandalay Entertainment Group, which includes TV company Mandalay Mosaic and Dick Clark Prods.

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