Plaza helms 'Genesis,' Balaguero nabs 'Apocalypse'

Spain’s Filmax Entertainment has greenlit production on Paco Plaza’s “REC Genesis” and Jaume Balaguero’s “REC Apocalypse,” the concluding films in the hit zombie franchise.

“REC” and “REC2” were co-directed by Plaza and Balaguero. The duo are co-developing both new films, but then will solo direct, Filmax chairman Julio Fernandez announced on Monday. Filmax Intl. will sell both pics.

Skedded for delivery fall 2011, “REC Genesis” is written by Plaza and Luis Berdejo, a seminal figure in Spain’s genre pic boom, who co-wrote “REC” before making his feature directorial debut directing Kevin Costner in “The New Daughter.” “Genesis” will explore the origins of the zombie mutant virus partially explained in “REC2.”

Balaguero will helm franchise closer “Apocalypse” once he completes sociopathic doorman thriller “Sleep Tight” (aka “Flatmate”), also set up at Filmax. “Apocalypse” should be ready by fall 2012, opening the door as with “Genesis” to a fest run.

“REC” and “REC2” premiered at the Venice Festival in 2007 and 2009 respectively, and consolidated their fanboy credentials at Spain’s Sitges fest, which “REC2” opened.

Double pic production is an attempt to conclude the franchise with a creative flourish, avoiding the diminishing returns of a “REC3” and “REC4.”

As ancillary markets seek ever more to morph film releases into film events, the bookend offers added value in DVD, VOD and TV to distributors already holding rights to “REC” and “REC2.”

“REC” inspired a U.S. remake, the Screen Gems-produced “Quarantine,” helmed by John Erick Dowdle.

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