Helmer on collision course with 'Collide'

This article was updated on Aug. 29, 2005.

Following the success of Paramount and DreamWorks’ “War of the Worlds,” Par has awarded another sci-fi spectacular to Steven Spielberg: the remake of “When Worlds Collide.”

Spielberg steps into the producer role left vacant by Stephen Sommers, who has opted to direct and produce Fox’s “A Night at the Museum” instead. Sommers had come on to “Collide” as director, writer and producer earlier this year (Daily Variety, April 11).

No decision’s been made yet on whether Spielberg — currently shooting “Munich” for a December release — will direct “Collide.”

Paramount’s original “When Worlds Collide,” directed by Rudolph Mate and released in 1951, served as inspiration for the 1998 films “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon.” Spielberg was an exec producer on “Deep Impact,” directed by Mimi Leder and co-financed by Par and DreamWorks.

“A Night at the Museum” is an action-comedy script from Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Gurant that was most recently rewritten by Scott Frank. It revolves around a hapless museum guard at a natural history exhibit who unwittingly triggers an ancient jinx that animates the long-deceased critters and brings chaos to the city.

Fox pic is being produced by Sommers, his producing partner Bob Ducsay, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan.

“War of the Worlds,” the adaptation of the film Paramount originally made in 1953, has outperformed expectations with nearly $232 million domestically and $345 million overseas. Spielberg directed the new adaptation, which was co-financed by DreamWorks and Par.

In addition to finishing “Munich,” Spielberg’s also a producer on DreamWorks’ upcoming “Memoirs of a Geisha” and Sony’s “Legend of Zorro.” He’s also been collaborating with George Lucas on another Paramount franchise project — “Indiana Jones 4″ — with Jeff Nathanson brought aboard late last year to pen the script.

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