×

Fox eyes ‘WW3.com’ as tentpole for 1999

Cyberspace hosts new kind of terrorist

Invaders from outerspace proved boffo for 20th Century Fox in “Independence Day,” and now the studio hopes to recreate that success with “WW3.com,” a project based on a new threat to the world’s survival: cyberspace.

Wanting to fast-track the project about World War III, Tom Rothman’s Fox film division has acquired the rights to John Carlin’s May, 1997 Wired magazine article, “A Farewell to Arms,” as source material for a tentpole event pic about information warfare. Carlin is Washington correspondent for the Independent newspaper of London.

The studio also has struck a deal with writer David Marconi — whose credits include Touchstone Picture’s upcoming “Enemy of the State” and Paramount’s sequel to “Mission: Impossible” — to pen the script.

The project is understood to blend the tensions of a Cold War thriller with a high concept, special effects-laden storyline involving cyber-terrorists who have declared war on the United States.

Peter Rice, Fox senior vice president of production, brought the project into the studio and is supervising its development.

Carlin’s story details “The Day After” strategy game — which was “played in the depths of the Cold War … (to) shake loose some bright ideas for a U.S. response to nuclear attack” — played by U.S. government and armed services officials who are faced with hypothetical cyber-threats to the nation’s well-being, such as the collapsing of air traffic control systems; the poisoning of water supplies; and the shut-down of satellite systems.

Fox is understood to be approaching the project with the premise that the cyber-threat is no longer hypothetical, but is being put into action by a cabal of computer-based terrorists.

In mounting the project, Fox may have declared “WW3.com” vs. “WWIII” in a battle royale for the nation’s box office during summer 1999. Last October, Columbia Pictures purchased Jason Hightman’s “World War III,” a script dealing with contemporary nuclear warfare, which the studio is developing as its 1999 tentpole pic.

Marconi was repped by Steve White of Warden, White and Associates.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Visions du Réel Reimagined as Digital

    Switzerland's Visions du Réel Reimagined as Digital Only Event

    Visions du Réel, a film festival in Nyon, Switzerland, has changed the format of its next edition to accommodate the restrictions imposed by the Swiss government in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally planned to run from April 24 to May 2, the festival will now be a digital-only event held over a longer period, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Announces Dues Extension Program for Members During Coronavirus Pandemic

    SAG-AFTRA has developed a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the Covid-19 pandemic with an extension of the May 1 deadline. “Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to Covid-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments,” the union said. “As part of [...]

  • Studio Babelsberg

    Terminated 'Matrix 4,' 'Uncharted' Film Crews Demand Help From Studio Babelsberg

    Germany’s Studio Babelsberg is seeking to find a settlement with hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown earlier this month of Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The production stop has left many independent film crew members without pay and more than 300 have formed a working [...]

  • Empty movie theater

    Theater Owners Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

    The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created an initial $2.4 million fund to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees who need help due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizations said Monday that the first part of the initiative is a grant program that will provide a stipend to [...]

  • Bob Chapek Bob Iger Disney

    Bob Iger to Give Up Salary, Other Senior Disney Executives to Take Pay Cuts

    Disney has joined the list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. Bob Iger, who shifted from chairman-CEO to executive chairman last month, has opted to forgo his salary for the year. Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO, has taken a 50% pay cut. [...]

  • Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic' Picked Up

    Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic,' Starring Emily Mortimer, Picked Up By Film Constellation

    London-based production, finance and sales company Film Constellation has boarded the critically-lauded “Relic,” the debut feature from Natalie Erika James. The film, which stars Emily Mortimer (“Shutter Island”), Robyn Nevin (“The Matrix Trilogy”) and Bella Heathcote (“The Neon Demon”), had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight section. The film, which [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content