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D’Works, Fox do Spielberg-Cruise ‘Report’

Second project in works

DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox will co-produce the sci-fi thriller “Minority Report,” which Steven Spielberg will direct and in which Tom Cruise will star, the studios confirmed Thursday (Daily Variety, Nov. 17).

The pact also calls for the two studios to partner on another as-yet-unnamed Spielberg project, bringing to four the number of co-productions Fox and DreamWorks now have on tap.

“Minority,” which is expected to begin lensing in fall of 1999, will probably be the next directing project for Spielberg, who has reportedly put “Memoirs of a Geisha” on indefinite hold. Cruise will likely segue to the pic after he wraps shooting on Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible 2,” which begins production in March.

The special-effects-heavy picture is expected to cost in the relatively thrifty $80 million neighborhood, plus substantial gross participation by Cruise and Spielberg.

DreamWorks and Fox will co-finance “Minority Report” and share equally in all revenues. One somewhat unusual aspect of the deal gives Fox worldwide theatrical distribution rights as well as international homevideo, while DreamWorks will handle worldwide television and domestic homevideo distribution.

The filmmakers hope to release the film domestically as early as summer 2000.

The project was developed at Tom Rothman’s 20th Century Fox division. However, DreamWorks’ production and distribution participation was a condition of Spielberg’s coming aboard. DreamWorks previously joined Paramount in co-producing the Spielberg-helmed “Saving Private Ryan” under similar circumstances.

In exchange, DreamWorks will bring Fox on as a partner on another, still undetermined Spielberg film. On that project, DreamWorks will take domestic distribution and Fox will handle the overseas release.

“Minority Report” is based on Jon Cohen’s draft of the Philp K. Dick short story about a cop in a futuristic judicial system in which killers are arrested for murders they have yet to commit.

Jan De Bont’s Blue Tulip Prods., which at one time was developing the project as a vehicle for the Dutch helmer, is still attached to produce it.

“It will be expensive, but with Steven the intention is to make this thing at a level which does not break the bank,” said Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Bill Mechanic. “There’s no person who’s more cost conscious and creative at the same time. I think everybody in this case has been cooperative and smart about it.”

Dick’s sci-fi works have served as the basis for other features including “Blade Runner,” “Total Recall” and “Screamers.”

Fox and DreamWorks previously agreed to collaborate on the Robert Zemeckis-helmed “Cast Away,” starring Tom Hanks. Fox also has an option to co-produce Zemeckis’ “What Lies Beneath” starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer (Daily Variety, Oct. 14).

CAA brokered the deals for both Cruise and Spielberg.