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Fox’s ‘Martian’ chronicle

With a diminished spec market, studios are taking chances on books that have yet to be published. Fox has joined that list by picking up the option to author Andy Weir’s unpublished “The Martian.”

Simon Kinberg has come aboard as a producer alongside his exec, Aditya Sood, through Kinberg’s Genre Films. Fox exec Steve Asbell will oversee the project for the studio.

Plot details are being kept under wraps and the studio is out to writers.

The science fiction thriller centers around an astronaut stranded on Mars in an accident, who must figure out how to stay alive long enough to get back home.

The pickup is one of a handful of books studios have optioned in the past year before publishing.

Last fall, Illumination and Universal optioned the rights to the “Lockwood & Co.” series before the first in the series, “The Screaming Staircase,” was even finished. And Warner Bros. recently optioned the rights to Christopher Golden’s book “Tin Men” based solely on Golden’s proposal.

Studios are looking at Kinberg, who made a name for himself penning such hits as “Sherlock Holmes” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” to oversee their tentpoles as a producer.

Some of the upcoming pics Kinberg is either in production on or developing include Sony’s “Elysium,” Disney’s “Cinderella” and Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Kinberg is repped by CAA.

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