Studio acquires film rights to Crichton's book

In the first major development deal since it tied the knot with Reliance Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios has acquired the film rights to Michael Crichton’s final tome “Pirate Latitudes” for Steven Spielberg to produce and potentially direct.

David Koepp will adapt for the bigscreen. Crichton completed the period action-adventure before his death last November.

Crichton’s final manuscript, which HarperCollins plans to publish on Nov. 24, was found in completed form by Crichton’s assistant.

Set in 1665, “Pirate Latitudes” revolves around a daring plan to infiltrate Port Royal, Jamaica, one of the world’s richest and most notorious cities, and raid a Spanish galleon filled with treasure.

Spielberg, Crichton and Koepp have a long history of working together. Crichton penned “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World,” both of which Koepp adapted for Spielberg to direct.

Crichton and Spielberg also collaborated on the TV series “ER.”

“Michael Crichton was one of our greatest storytellers, who expanded all of our imaginations with his books, films and television,” Spielberg said.

Acquisition was announced by DreamWorks CEO/co-chair Stacey Snider.

Spielberg’s next directing project is “Harvey,” a co-production between DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox. Pic is based on Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a man who befriends a 6½-foot-tall invisible rabbit. Production is set to begin early next year.

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