Summer tentpole set for 2009 release

Sony has snapped up “2012,” a spec script for a 2009 summer tentpole release that Roland Emmerich will direct.

Sony has essentially committed to greenlight the film, signaling that studios are open to flashy packages after the resolution of the writers strike. Production will begin in late summer or early fall.

Deal came on the same day that Emmerich pitched his vision and his budget projections for the film, which he scripted with “10,000 B.C.” co-writer Harald Kloser. Execs at various studios, who read the script Tuesday (Daily Variety, Feb. 20), were then invited to pitch Emmerich and his CAA reps on how they would market the picture.

Several studios bid on the project, while some shied away from a pricetag that could hit $200 million.

The title refers to the date on which the world is supposed to end, and it frames an ensemble disaster epic akin to “The Day After Tomorrow,” the blockbuster that Emmerich sold in a similar spec sale and which turned into a global hit for 20th Century Fox.

The Emmerich-directed prehistoric epic “10,000 B.C.” will be released by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures on March 7.

Emmerich and Kloser will produce; exec producers are Michael Wimer, Mark Gordon and Ute Emmerich.

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