“The Man With X-Ray Eyes” has triple vision. With the latest news that Tim Burton has signed on to develop “X — The Man With X-Ray Eyes” as a project for him to direct for DreamWorks and Orion Pictures, there now are three projects based on that premise.
Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. also have projects based on “X-Ray.” Oddly enough, Sony — which has rights to the short story and the title “Man With the X-Ray Eyes,” written by Edmond Hamilton — acquired the project several years ago for Burton, when the studio was under the management of Peter Guber, Jon Peters and Mark Canton.
That project is being produced by JD Prods.’ Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher and Peter Capaldi, who won an Oscar for his live-action short “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life,” is developing to direct.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros., which is finalizing a deal for Burton to direct Nicolas Cage for “Superman,” has its own “X-Ray” project and claims it also owns rights to the title. Curiously, though, that project — scripted by Jeffrey J. Abrams — is called “Beyond Violet.”
With “X-Ray,” DreamWorks now is in competition with other studios on three big projects. The first is with Disney on dueling asteroid projects. DreamWorks has “Deep Impact,” while Disney has “Armageddon.” Both are moving full speed ahead.
DreamWorks also is doing an animated “Ants,” while Disney is moving ahead with a similarly themed animated project called “Bugs.”
DreamWorks’ “X-Ray” will be produced by Burton and Larry Franco, who has been associated with the director on two previous feature projects, “Batman Returns” and “Mars Attacks!” Bryan Goluboff (“The Basketball Diaries”) is working on the screenplay.
The original 1963 “X-Ray” was produced and directed by Roger Corman and starred Ray Milland as the doomed scientist.
The film was an asset of Sam Arkoff’s American Intl. Pictures, which was bought by Filmways, which later became Orion Pictures and subsequently Orion/Metromedia Entertainment Group.
WMA’s Mike Simpson and attorney Melanie Cook negotiated on behalf of Burton. WMA’s George Lane reps writer Goluboff.