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King Kong Movie ‘Skull Island’ Set for 2016

Universal to release the film November 4, 2016

Legendary Entertainment is developing a movie based on Skull Island, better known as the home of King Kong. The pic is scheduled to be released on November 4, 2016.

While the film isn’t expected to be a sequel or reboot to the 2005 movie Peter Jackson directed for Universal, Legendary’s pic will likely feature the big ape in some form, given that he was shown roaring at the end of a clip shown at its panel at Comic-Con on Saturday. Legendary announced the project for the first time there, the same place where it first announced “Godzilla” in 2012.

Update: “Godzilla” screenwriter Max Borenstein is writing the project for Legendary, which the company has approached “Attack the Block’s” Joe Cornish to direct.

The island, which gets its name from an imposing skull-shaped rock formation, first appeared in the 1933 “King Kong” and subsequent films, but also is the home of many other prehistoric creatures and a primitive society of humans.

Legendary said that while previous works have touched on the island, the film was a way to explore the mysterious and dangerous place and “take audiences deeper inside the rich world with a style and scope that parallels other Legendary productions.”

Universal is likely to distribute the film as part of its first-look relationship with Legendary.

In fact, Universal gave up its Comic-Con presence entirely to Legendary’s upcoming slate, which includes the horror film “As Above, So Below,” the Michael Mann cyber thriller “Blackhat,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” and the adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s fantasy video game “Warcraft,” the latter of which won’t be released until March 2016.

SEE ALSO: How ‘Godzilla’ Roared Again with Director Gareth Edwards, Legendary’s Thomas Tull

The panel marked Mann’s first trip to Comic-Con.

Just like Christopher Nolan’s first visit just days earlier, Mann wanted to see what all the fuss of the fanfest was about.

“I’ve heard from my friends, including Guillermo del Toro, about how wonderful it is,” he said.

Mann had wanted to make a cyber crime thriller in Asia and cast Chris Hemsworth as the film’s lead, an actor who he called “a terrific actor with a great career that’s just beginning. He’s a real regular fella.”

Hemsworth, who is in town to help promote “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” joined Mann on the panel.

“Blackhat,” formerly titled “Cyber,” hacks its way into theaters Jan. 16, 2015.

With “As Above, So Below,” the pic’s filmmakers wanted to make a “found footage Indiana Jones type story,” set in the 200 miles of tunnels that date back to the 14th century, six stories under ground, according to John Dowdie, and make it “as hell-like as you can imagine,” Drew Dowdie added.

Legendary also announced Mothra, Ghidorah and Rodan as the new monsters joining its “Godzilla” franchise.

Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” is the director’s gothic romance that “blends the two sides of my personality,” he said on stage. “‘Mimic’ was such a tough experience,” it made him make the switch to big pop culture pics like “Pacific Rim.”

The horror-romance stars Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam and Mia Wasikowska.

The director said he jumped at the chance to make an R-rated horror film that mixes violence, horror, thriller, romance and very brutal moments “with incredible beauty,” he said, and “tackle a great adult story for a female lead” that explores what happens after she’s met the man of her dreams “and become her own person. It’s a beautiful adult confection.”

With Legendary and Universal’s executives in the audience, Del Torro took a quick poll at the end of his talk to find out whether there was interest in a “Hellboy 3” or “At the Mountains of Madness” movie. The crowd erupted in applause and cheers with each title. “They’re listening,” Del Toro said.

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