Warners goes on time trek

Emmerich's 'B.C.' set for summer 2007

A correction was made to this article on Jan. 31, 2006.

Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up Roland Emmerich’s big-budget “10,000 B.C.” out of quick turnaround from Sony.

Aggressive move gives Warners its first chance to work with Emmerich –and a 2007 summer tentpole. Emmerich is set to begin shooting the prehistoric adventure in late April in South Africa.

Pickup comes less than five months after Emmerich and producing partner Michael Wimer set up the project at Columbia Pictures through their Centropolis shingle.

Sources said Sony’s hefty 2007 release calendar couldn’t accommodate a slot for “10,000” as the filmmakers wanted, and the earliest the film could be released through that studio was 2008.

Others suggested that given its turbulent financial performance of late, Sony is feeling fiscally prudent, particularly with “Spider-Man 3” looming. Budget for “10,000 B.C.” is anticipated to be north of $100 million.

Warners quickly made it clear it was interested in acquiring rights to Emmerich’s epic, which centers on a 21-year-old who lives among a primitive tribe that survives by hunting a mammoth each year as the herd migrates through the tribe’s homeland.

Emmerich came close to setting up his last directing project, “The Day After Tomorrow,” at Warners but ultimately went with 20th Century Fox.

Warners will likely secure a co-financing partner on “10,000 B.C.”

Emmerich penned the original screenplay with composer Harald Kloser. John Orloff and Matthew Sand worked on revisions, while Robert Rodat (“Saving Private Ryan”) is writing the current script.

Wimer, Emmerich and Mark Gordon are producers. Warners Bros. Pictures’ senior VP Dan Lin will oversee for the studio.

Kloser, Emmerich’s composer on “Day After Tomorrow,” also will compose the music for “10,000 B.C.” and exec produce with Tom Karnowski.

Project is the first Emmerich will produce with Wimer, his longtime agent at CAA who left the tenpercentery last April to join Centropolis.

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