Universal to make ‘Academy’ film

Studio, Dark Horse Comics team on adaptation

Universal Pictures is planning to make “Umbrella Academy” the first project to come out of its three-year production pact with Dark Horse Comics.

Mark Bomback, who wrote Disney’s “Race to Witch Mountain,” has been tapped to pen the adaptation of the book series, created by Gerard Way, the lead singer of band My Chemical Romance.

“Umbrella Academy,” which bowed in 2007 and spawned a second series, revolves around a disbanded group of seven superheroes who reunite after the death of their adoptive father, an alien disguised as a famous entrepreneur, and carry out his plan to save the world.

Mike Richardson, founder and prexy of Dark Horse, will produce “Umbrella” alongside Scott Stuber through his U-based Stuber Prods. Pamela Abdy will oversee the project for the shingle and serve as a producer. Way will serve as exec producer.

U senior VP of production Scott Bernstein and creative exec Dave Targan will oversee the project for the studio.

Dark Horse is the third largest comicbook publisher, behind Marvel and DC, and has run a successful film and TV division since 1992, producing such pics as “The Mask,” “Hellboy,” “Alien vs. Predator,” “Sin City” and “300” at various studios. All the pics were based on Dark Horse books.

Company’s “Hellboy: The Golden Army” was released by U last year, and production helped cement the exclusive partnership between the two companies that now gives the studio access to all of Dark Horse’s storylines and characters.

At the same time, deal essentially guarantees Dark Horse distribution for its film and TV projects. In addition to having titles produced by U, Dark Horse can self-finance projects that the studio will release.

Bomback also penned Fox’s “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Unstoppable,” the runaway train actioner that Tony Scott recently boarded to direct.

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