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Universal faces a clash of the Greek gods

Studio changes titles to avoid confusion

Universal Pictures has discovered it may have one too many warring Greek gods on the lot.

The studio, which will distribute Relativity Media’s mythological actioner “War of the Gods,” through the Rogue banner, has worked with the production company to rename the pic “Immortals.”

Move comes as Universal also has “God of War,” another epic about a warrior who battles the Titans of Mount Olympus, in active development.

With established brands performing at blockbuster levels at the box office, Hollywood is gravitating toward projects with built-in awareness.

And that meant “God of War” was always going to win the clash of the titles, given that the property is based on Sony’s popular videogame franchise. A third installment, exclusive to Sony’s PlayStation 3, is out in stores now and selling briskly.

At the same time, Universal owned the rights to the project, and thus, the name before Relativity’s project got the greenlight.

The “God of War” games revolve around the intimidating warrior Kratos, who seeks revenge on the gods of Mount Olympus after being used and discarded as one of their tools, during which he unwillingly killed his wife and daughter.

Immortals” has a similar revenge-based plot: Story follows the young warrior Theseus, who leads his men into battle with the immortal Greek gods to defeat the elder gods of the Titans to save mankind.

At one point, “Immortals” had also been referred to as “Dawn of War,” but even that was considered too similar to “God of War.”

Universal will distribute “Immortals” first, on Nov. 11, 2011. “God of War” does not yet have a release date or even filmmakers attached.

Tarsem Singh is helming “Immortals,” which began shooting in Montreal this week.

Relativity also announced Tuesday that John Hurt and Isabel Lucas have joined the cast of “Immortals,” with Hurt set to portray the earthly manifestation of Zeus, who acts as a mentor and teacher to Theseus, portrayed by Henry Cavill. Lucas will portray Athena, the daughter of Zeus.

Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz, Joseph Morgan, Freida Pinto and Mickey Rourke had been announced previously for the cast.

Producers are Gianni Nunnari of Hollywood Gang Productions, Mark Canton of Atmosphere Entertainment MM and Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media. Christian Gudegast wrote the screenplay, based on a script by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides.

Hurt recently completed director Rowan Joffe’s “Brighton Rock,” opposite Helen Mirren. Lucas starred in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Both “Immortals” and “God of War” are the latest film projects to revolve around Greek mythological characters after “Clash of the Titans” and “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief.”

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