Fox beats trail to ‘Pathfinder’

Net in talk to pickup pic from Phoenix

Twentieth Century Fox is in negotiations to acquire “Pathfinder” from Phoenix Pictures as a negative pickup.

Fox will market and distribute the pic, whose budget is understood to be just under $30 million. Fox co-chairman Jim Gianopulos has spearheaded the securing of both domestic and worldwide territories for the studio.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake helmer Marcus Nispel is directing the pic, retooling the 1987 Oscar-nommed Norwegian suspense-actioner of the same name.

Original followed the exploits of warring tribes in ancient Norway; new version, penned by Laeta Kalogridis (“Alexander”), concerns the little-known skirmishes that took place between the Vikings and Native Americans a thousand years ago.

In “Pathfinder,” a Viking boy is left behind in North America and is adopted and raised as an American Indian despite his straw-blonde hair. When a Viking raid wipes out his village, the young man becomes his adopted people’s savior in battling the ferocious Norsemen.

“Pathfinder” is being produced by Phoenix toppers Mike Medavoy and Arnold Messer; original pic’s producer, John M. Jacobsen; and Lee Nelson and Phoenix production exec Brad Fischer.

Phoenix just produced Columbia’s remake of Robert Rossen’s 1949 best picture Oscar winner “All the King’s Men,” starring Sean Penn and directed by Steve Zaillian.

Nispel’s 2003 “Massacre” grossed just over $107 million worldwide for New Line.

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