Studio may bring sci-fi show to bigscreen

Disney is optioning rights to the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi series “John Carter of Mars” as a potential franchise for the studio.

Paramount had previously owned the rights to the epic and had set the project up with Jon Favreau directing and Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks producing. But Par’s option expired and now Disney has jumped aboard and is in talks with Burroughs’ estate.

Pic begins with a Civil War veteran whose retreat into a cave to avoid capture by Apache Indians takes an otherworldly turn as he’s transported via time portal to the planet of Barsoom and taken prisoner by 12-foot-tall green men.

Burroughs wrote eleven volumes of Carter’s adventures and Disney is hoping the film will launch a franchise.

Pic fits neatly in with Disney’s mandate under prexy Oren Aviv of sticking to family-oriented fare that’s in keeping with the Disney brand.

Disney’s upcoming pics this year include the third installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise; the Amy Adams-starrer “Enchanted,” being produced by Barry Josephson; and Spyglass’ supernatural thriller “The Invisible.”

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