Over the weekend news broke that Disney’s previously stalled remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had gained traction again when David Fincher became attached to direct and Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) would write the script. Details were thin but the aim was for it to be visually dazzling in the same vein as Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.

But is one big-budget 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie really enough? For us the answer is probably “Yes,” but that doesn’t stop other studios from having a go at the same story.

According to Heat Vision Blog, Fox is readying its own version of 20,000 Leagues with a team that rivals the one set up over at Disney. Brothers Ridley and Tony Scott are developing the project through their Scott Free production company, with a scriptwriter already in place in the form of Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans remake).

Fox also reportedly has its eye on Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov. Although the Russian director has had talks about helming the massive project, a deal has yet to be struck.

Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Timur Bekmambetov

The interesting thing is that even though we’ve heard more about the Disney version – especially recently with Fincher and Burns being attached – it looks like this Fox version might get made and hit theaters first. This version has apparently been simmering quietly over at the studio ever since the writers strike (boy, remember that whole mess?).

The Fox version is supposed to take things in the direction of sci-fi, but the story will follow the same structure (it’s noted that the original 1870 Jules Verne story was considered sci-fi at the time). The studio reportedly feels that a sci-fi approach will be more accessible to a 21st century audience (and admittedly they’d be right).

So evidently the Fox version is further along than the Disney one, with deals for Fincher and Burns not even closed yet. Since the 20,000 Leagues story is public domain, it basically means anyone can adapt it and it’s no surprise two major studios want to give it a go.

Original 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea book

This situation is very reminiscent to what’s happening with The Three Musketeers (also in the public domain), a story which currently has two adaptations in the works: one from Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and a 3D adventure from Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil).

The situation is also echoes that late-90s/early oughties trend where two similarly-themed blockbusters would come out around the same time. Just a few examples that come to mind: Armageddon and Deep Impact, A Bug’s Life and Antz, Dante’s Peak and Volcano (there are a lot more I invite you to mention in the comments below).

I don’t want to repeat the old “Hollywood has no originality” argument but… oh wait, I just did 😛 . Seriously though, it’s getting to the point where we’re turning up at the movie theater and the choice is at once both varied and limited. Two versions of the same story in theaters at the same time – I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing.

What do you think of two big studios each making their own versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Will the two sort of cancel each other out in terms of impact, or is the fact that we’ll have two to choose from a good thing?

We’ll keep you posted on both versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as more news comes out.

Source: Heat Vision Blog