Sony locks up Osama bin Laden pic

U.S. distrib rights for untitled project goes to Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s untitled film about the black ops mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

Bigelow and Boal have been developing the project since 2008, long before bin Laden was killed during a high-stakes raid on his compound in Pakistan earlier this month, a seismic event that the duo plan to incorporate into the film, as Variety first reported (Daily Variety, May 3).

Bigelow and Boal will produce along with Annapurna Pictures principal Megan Ellison, while Greg Shapiro will exec produce. Bigelow, Boal and Shapiro previously produced “The Hurt Locker” for Summit. That pic won seven Oscars, including best picture.

Production is scheduled to start later this summer, and the film is skedded to hit U.S. theaters in the fourth quarter of 2012. Pic will likely be one of Sony’s major awards contenders, as the only other film the studio currently has dated for the last quarter of next year is “Bond 23.”

“With the death of Osama bin Laden, this film could not be more relevant,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Kathryn and Mark have an outstanding perspective on the team that was hunting the most wanted man in the world. Mark is second to none as an investigative journalist, and Kathryn will bring the same kind of compelling authenticity and urgency that distinguished ‘The Hurt Locker’ and made that film so memorable and special.”