×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Burton takes rain check on Par pic

Helmer, Carrey put 'Believe' on hold

Believe it or not, Paramount Pictures has postponed its Tim Burton-directed “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”

But Par could still have a Burton-directed film on its schedule: The helmer will turn his attention to “Sweeney Todd,” a feature adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical developed by DreamWorks. Johnny Depp is attached to reteam with Burton for “Todd.”

Depp has time in his schedule since his early 2007 project, “Shantaram,” fell apart when director Peter Weir ankled (Daily Variety, June 12).

Burton was attached years ago to “Sweeney Todd” at Warner Bros. DreamWorks got into the mix when Burton dropped out and Sam Mendes developed the musical with screenwriter John Logan.

“Ripley’s,” which had been earmarked for a November start with Jim Carrey as the titular explorer-newspaper columnist, was pegged as an event film that would help define the studio’s new regime.

But Paramount has delayed the start of production on that film for at least one year, applying the brakes because of a budget that was north of $150 million and because Carrey and Burton wanted to make significant creative changes.

“Ripley” becomes the second Carrey vehicle to stall in recent weeks. But the studio said the delay on “Ripley’s” is not akin to that of “Used Guys,” the Jay Roach-directed Carrey-Ben Stiller comedy that was halted by Fox when its budget came in at $112 million.

“It’s the completely opposite situation,” Par’s co-prexy of production Brad Weston said. “We intend to make the movie with Tim and Jim, and the fact they are meeting later this week to continue working on the script shows our intent to go forward. We wanted to get to the right place creatively and financially, and through our relationship with DreamWorks, this picture switch was made easy and seamless. Everybody is still fully committed to making this happen, and now we can do that without spending money on a weekly basis for pre-production.”And while “Ripley’s” may seem to be another casualty of escalating budgets for Hollywood’s event pictures, Par prexy Gail Berman insisted in a statement that the film isn’t gone for good.

“We are looking forward to making ‘Ripley’s’ with Tim and Jim; just later than originally expected,” Berman said in a statement.

The decision was made at the conclusion of a process in which the studio scouted locations in China, a process that included gaining permissions from the government to shoot there. It also included haggling over deals. In Carrey’s case, he waived his entire upfront salary to unburden the production budget. It was still high, and the backend participation of Carrey and Burton are significant.

Aside from that, Carrey and Burton had ideas to change the script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski in ways significant enough to require rewrites by those scribes and a re-thinking of the f/x budget. The result would change the emphasis from Ripley to some of the wonders he uncovered for his “Believe It or Not” column.

Studio could have pushed the film to spring 2007, but a decision was made to postpone longer so Burton could make the other film.

Carrey was intent on avoiding a repeat of “Fun With Dick and Jane,” which began production with a script that wasn’t ready. That entailed liberal reshoots and editing.

Carrey will likely make another comedy while he, Burton and Paramount continue to work, in hopes they can meet up in China in fall 2007.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • She Monkeys

    LevelK Boards International Sales on Lisa Aschan's 'Call Mom!' (EXCLUSIVE)

    LevelK has acquired international sales rights to Lisa Aschan’s new film “Call Mom!”, a sequel to her well-received feature debut, “She Monkeys.” Produced by Anna-Maria Kantarius (“Amateurs”) at Garagefilm Intl., “Call Mom!” follows Niki, a 35-year-old who lives like she’s 25 and is forced to come to grips with all of her relationships and past [...]

  • The Spokeswoman

    Mexico’s Luciana Kaplan on Indigenous Candidate Doc ‘The Spokeswoman’

    In 2017, Luciana Kaplan’s globe-spanning documentary feature “Rush Hour” was selected as the best in competition at that year’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival – only one of many such plaudits for the film – and the director returned to the festival Impulso section for pix-in-post with her next latest, “The Spokeswoman,” taking three of the [...]

  • Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart and Naomi

    China Box Office: 'Charlie's Angels' Kept Earthbound by Local Romcom

    The new “Charlie’s Angels” reboot was no match for a local romantic comedy or a 20-year-old Giuseppe Tornatore film at the Chinese box office, bringing in just $7.6 million in its debut weekend, according to figures from consultancy Artisan Gateway. Directed by Elizabeth Banks and starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska, the film [...]

  • Climbing Blind

    ‘Climbing Blind’ Snares Kendal Mountain Festival Grand Prize

    KENDAL    “Climbing Blind,” from Alastair Lee, took the Grand Prize at the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday. Detailing the ascent of a vertical rock pillar, the film revealed how a blind mountaineer led the climb, assisted only by a sight-partner a rope length below. The film had particular significance for a British audience, [...]

  • Jon Voight'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' film

    President Trump to Award Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts

    President Trump will present actor Jon Voight, musician Allison Krauss, and mystery writer James Patterson with the national medal of arts. Voight is one of few in Hollywood who has been vocal about his support of President Trump in the past, calling him “the greatest president of this century.” The White House announced four recipients [...]

  • Zack Snyder arrives at the 2018

    'Justice League': Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder Support Release of 'Snyder Cut'

    Zack Snyder, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck have taken to social media to request that Warner Bros. release the Snyder cut of “Justice League.” Snyder, who helmed “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and was “Justice League’s” original director, had to leave production on the film partway through after his daughter died, with Joss [...]

  • Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On?

    Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On? (Column)

    Do we choose sides when we watch “Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach’s brilliant and wrenching drama of divorce? The question, on the face of it, sounds facile in a dozen ways the movie isn’t. Rarely are there winners in divorce, and there are two sides to every breakup. “Marriage Story” is a movie that reflects that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content