Fox heads ‘Upstairs’ with Burton

Studio sets up project with Josephson

Fox has preemptively snapped up British writer Mark Burton’s spec “They Came From Upstairs” for $1.75 million against $2.25 million and set up the project with Barry Josephson and his Josephson Entertainment banner.

Story centers on half a dozen kids defending their vacation home in Maine from aliens who have invaded via the upstairs.

Deal, closed by WMA/Berlin & Associates on Thursday, is one of the largest spec buys in recent months and comes two weeks after Burton picked up a BAFTA award for his work as one of the writers on “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”

Scribe, whose credits include “Madagascar,” penned the script between assignments after finding little traction for the story a year ago when pitching to studios.

Josephson exec Bridget Humphrey brought the project into the shingle. Fox exec VP Lisa Ellzey is overseeing for the studio.

Fox-based Josephson is a producer with Barry Sonnenfeld on Disney’s “Enchanted,” starring Amy Adams and James Marsden. He’s also developing the Untitled Air Guitar project for DreamWorks with Steve Brill aboard.