Sign of the times, or maybe studio bigwigs weren’t big fans of INDY IV or KING KONG III, but Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have had a hard time getting financing for their proposed TINTIN motion-capture trilogy, with Universal — previously Spielberg’s safe haven — turning it down, Claudia Eller reported:
But after they submitted a final budget of $130 million for their 3-D animated movie “Tintin,” based on the Belgian comic strip, to Universal Pictures, the studio balked. The decision has left the two powerful filmmakers scrambling to find another financial partner.
When even Spielberg and “The Lord of the Rings” director Jackson, who have made some of the biggest blockbusters in history, can’t get their movie made, you know something is up in Hollywood. Universal’s refusal to finance “Tintin” underscores how in today’s tough economic climate, bottom-line concerns trump once-inviolable relationships between studios and talent.
AICN weighed in, while expressing support for the project:
This means, according to Eller’s sources, that TINTIN would have to gross $425 million worldwide to break even. That’s a lot of coin for a movie that doesn’t directly appeal to teens and twentysomethings. Then again, Pixar’s RATATOUILLE pulled in close to that amount in foreign $$$ alone; if TINTIN is mostly an overseas phenomenon, I don’t see why Spielberg’s film can’t approach that number (provided it’s good). And while this isn’t your typical Spielberg film, I somehow can’t see the rigors of mo-cap production kicking his ass; the Beard’s got a fairly above-average track record when it comes to blending storytelling and nascent technology.
Nikki Finke, however, reports that Paramount has picked up the project:
I’m told Spielberg and Jackson began looking other places for the money, and had just talked to Walden Media. But the pair were still waiting to hear back from Paramount (which hadn’t yet passed, contrary to what Radar wrote). Now my sources say parent company Viacom just offered the bigtime directors 100% Tintin financing. So it’s Spielberg/Jackson’s turn to get back to Paramount with a yea or nay.
BUT…see the comment section after the Finke item, where posters argue whether anyone in the US is really interested in a Tintin movie:
This is no “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” This is the next “The Rocketeer” or “The Shadow.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.