‘Files’ locked tight

TV-to-pic transition a tricky proposition

20th Century Fox is embarking on another adventure to turn one of its hit TV shows into a bigscreen franchise, hiring writers to adapt “24” into a feature.

But the TV-to-film trail is difficult to navigate. It’s worth remembering that these are TV franchises first, films second.

Take, for instance, “The Simpsons Movie,” which is due to be released next year — 18 years after the toon first went on the air.

When writers and producers are hard-pressed (and well-paid) to produce TV episodes week after week, it can be difficult to find time to make a movie. That was one of the reasons it took so long to get a “Simpsons” film script everyone was happy with.

Then there are the legal problems.

When “The X-Files” film grossed $84 million in 1998, it seemed a natural to generate a series of followup pics.

But a sequel has been stuck in limbo for the past eight years. While there are deals in place for stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, creator Chris Carter and exec producer Frank Spotnitz, the whole thing is on hold until Carter wraps up his legal dispute with Fox over syndication fees on the TV show.

“It’s sort of the same place it’s been for a long time,” Spotnitz says. “It’s not uncommon for people to have legal issues about the afterlife of a successful TV show.”

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