Boyle to helm $15 mil ’28 Days Later’

Sci-fi pic to be financed by DNA

LONDON — Danny Boyle is lining up to direct “28 Days Later,” a $15 million sci-fi movie set in post-apocalyptic London, which will be financed by U.K. lotto franchise DNA Films.

Pic is scripted by Alex Garland, who wrote the novel on which Boyle’s “The Beach” was based.

It will be produced by Boyle’s regular partner Andrew Macdonald through his Figment Films shingle. Macdonald also co-heads DNA with Duncan Kenworthy.

Pic, about a group of people who survive a virus that wipes out the rest of the population, is expected to shoot this August, regardless of a U.S. actors’ strike. “It’s a story which can be told without stars,” says Macdonald.

DNA plans to draw down $4.5 million in lottery coin to invest in the project, with the remainder coming from its worldwide distribution deal with Universal Pictures.

Macdonald has not yet submitted the script either to Universal or to the Film Council, which hands out the lottery funds.

The project marks a deliberate attempt by DNA to move up the budget scale, towards a higher-profile and more mainstream style of filmmaking.

The company originally intended to make writer-driven pics costing no more than $6 million, but has adjusted its strategy after struggling with its first slate of films.

Macdonald and Kenworthy are also determined to take a more hands-on role as producers, rather than just exec producers, of DNA’s slate.

“We made three movies with outside producers and first-time directors, and they were not as successful as we would have hoped,” says Macdonald. “We’ve realized we have to produce these films ourselves.”

“Beautiful Creatures” was a box office and critical flop in the U.K., while “Strictly Sinatra” and “The Final Curtain,” which have yet to be released, are both regarded by DNA as arthouse rather than multiplex movies.

Both films will be released in the U.S. later this year by Universal Focus, before they open in Britain, because DNA believes America is a more supportive market for arthouse movies. “Strictly Sinatra” will premiere in the Seattle Film Festival.

DNA’s commercial hopes are currently riding on “The Parole Officer,” starring Brit comedian Steve Coogan, a $10 million movie which is now in post-production. It will get a wide release in the U.K. later this year.

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