Relativity Media pic faces problems

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

So when it came to “War of the Gods,” the name of the actioner featuring iconic characters from Greek mythology that Universal will distribute next year for the Rogue banner, Relativity Media realized it had a problem.

Not only is it very close to “Clash of the Titans,” Warner Bros.’ and Legendary Pictures’ reboot of the 1981 Greek mythology pic that’s conquering the box office, it also proved too similar to “God of War,” another epic about a warrior who battles the Titans of Mount Olympus, in active development at Universal.

“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.

The 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 in order 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,” and didn’t effectively represent the pic’s mythological characters and plot.

But Universal will distribute “Immortals” first, on Nov. 11, 2011. “God of War” does not yet have a release date yet 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 recently 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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