Warners follows ‘Primeval’ urge

Studio acquires rights to Brit sci-fi series

In a high-six-figure deal, Warner Bros. has acquired screen rights to “Primeval,” the ITV series that airs in the U.S. on BBC America and Sci Fi Channel.

Akiva Goldsman and Kerry Foster will produce through Goldsman’s WB-based Weed Road banner. Emily Cummins will also be involved in a producing capacity.

Goldsman, who scripted the Ron Howard-directed “Angels and Demons” with David Koepp, will hire a writer to draft “Primeval.”

In the series, ferocious prehistoric and futuristic creatures appear through wormhole time portals, and a covert team headed by an evolutionary scientist tries to close the doors and quietly thwart the creatures.

The series, which has run three seasons, was co-created by Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges and produced by Haines’ shingle, Impossible Pictures.

WB and Goldsman will transplant the action to the U.S. and ramp up the spectacle.

“There is a solid mythology to the series, but the movie has the dinosaur element of ‘Jurassic Park’ and the time travel element of ‘Lost,’ and it just feels like the kind of big movie that Warner Bros. does well,” Foster said.

Impossible Pictures managing director Jonathan Drake said the movie is one part of an expansion effort for a show that has broadened into primetime berths in countries all over the world. This week Drake and Haines are pitching a series that would also transplant the action beyond the U.K.

Separately, Goldsman is producing with Andrew Lazar “Jonah Hex,” which is in production. With Overbrook partners Will Smith and James Lassiter, Goldsman is developing a D.B. Weiss-scripted, Francis Lawrence-directed prequel to “I Am Legend,” and with Zucker Prods., Goldsman is producing the Doug Liman-directed “Fair Game,” for River Road.

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