Peter Berg is Not Directing DUNE

     October 28, 2009

Peter Berg Dune slice.jpg

If you have ever wondered why directors attach themselves to eight projects at the same time, the reason is you never know which project will get the financing and also land a big name star.  Also, you never know if another project will start getting more attractive.  Whatever the reason, it seems director Peter Berg has officially dropped out of the remake/reboot of “Dune”.  This probably means Berg’s next project will be “Battleship” at Universal. More after the jump:

Peter Berg image.jpgFirst, let’s get back to the “Dune” news. The first report that Berg was off the project came from pajiba.com and it was confirmed at CHUD.

Pajiba reported the project is still active at Paramount but they’re “looking for a director who can put the movie together for under $175 million, which sounds manageable, but they don’t want anything resembling the crap effects of the ’84 film, and they want a director who already has a preexisting passion for the novel and is enthusiastic about the project. Right now, Paramount is shopping the script to two directors: They like Neill Blompkamp (District 9), who has the right vision, but the frontrunner, at the moment, is Neil Marshall (The Descent), who was sent the script early this month.”

But even if they get another director (which shouldn’t be that hard), the studio might still be unwilling to pull the trigger on this production as it’s going to be extremely expensive and not exactly a four quadrant film.  Sure, all of us sci-fi geeks are going opening day, but what about your parents and teenagers on date night. Will they want to see “Dune” or just go to the latest Screen Gems thriller.

Also, with DVD sales tanking, studios are getting very nervous about spending money on anything less than a sure thing.  While I’d love to see another take on “Dune”, I’ll be the first one to say, this is not a sure thing.

Of course backing out of “Dune” isn’t going to be a problem for Peter Berg.  As we reported last month, he has a two-picture deal at Universal for “Battleship” and a drama about a team of Navy SEALS ambushed in Afghanistan titled “Lone Survivor”.   He has “Hancock 2″ in development at Sony. Right now “Battleship” is looking like it’s his next project.  While I am very nervous about a film based on the Hasbro board game, Berg will get a free pass for now.

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