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Fox to co-finance ‘Robopocalypse’

Studio teams with DreamWorks on Spielberg pic

After a summer in which the majors loaded up on sequels and safe bets, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks are teaming to split the risk on an original concept.

Fox has come on board to co-finance Steven Spielberg’s “Robopocalypse,” which may be shot in 3D, on a 50-50 basis. The partners plan to unspool the pic in summer 2013 — the same time that “Iron Man 3,” “The Fast and the Furious 6,” “Monsters Inc. 2,” “Thor 2” and “Despicable Me 2” will be crowding the multiplexes.

Robopocalypse,” a sci-fi epic adapted from Daniel H. Wilson’s novel by scribe Drew Goddard, centers on the fate of the human race after a robot uprising. DreamWorks acquired the rights to Wilson’s unpublished manuscript in November 2009. Title was released by Doubleday in June.

Disney will distribute “Robopocalypse” domestically through its Touchstone label while Fox will handle international territories. The companies will share equally in worldwide theatrical revenues.

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Spielberg developed the script along with DreamWorks co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider. Fox had been aggressively tracking the project for some time, enticed by Spielberg’s heft behind an original event film. Studio is eyeing the pic as its big anchor movie for 2013. It’ll unspool July 4 weekend on a day-and-date basis in most territories.

“It feels to us, in a world of events, that this is an uber-event,” one exec close to the project said.

Fox and Spielberg have a film relationship dating back to 2002’s “Minority Report,” which grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, and more recently through 20th Century Fox TV’s ambitious dino-drama “Terra Nova,” which Spielberg is exec producing with Peter Chernin.

Fox and Spielberg also came close to doing a remake of the 1950 Jimmy Stewart film “Harvey” last year but the stars didn’t align on the casting front.

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