‘Watchmen’ battle leads to ‘Foundation’ going to Sony?
Okay, this one is complicated. Bear with us.
Variety reports that Columbia won an auction late Thursday for screen rights to Foundation, Isaac Asimov’s science fiction
trilogy quad series. The film will be developed as a directing vehicle for Roland Emmerich. This is a surprise development, possibly stemming from bad blood between Warner Bros. and Fox over Watchmen.
The property was originally developed by Fox and producer Vince Gerardis, then found its way to New Line (a division of WB) and went with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne as the first major project announcement after the former heads of New Line
got bounced formed Unique Pictures at WB.
Gerardis, whose "Created By" formerly represented the Asimov estate, was attached as producer. And Fox would have had to be compensated for its development costs. That became a problem for WB (can’t imagine why, after the pleasant experiences with Watchmen) and the studio let its option lapse, expecting to quietly make a new deal with a clear chain of rights that would have left Fox and Gerardis cut out. So it went to auction. WB bid for Unique and director Alex Proyas, Fox bid for Gerardis. Emmerich and Sony were last minute bidders– it seems that Emmerich’s partner Michael Wimer at Centropolis Pictures had been tracking the availability of the rights since he was Emmerich’s agent at CAA, and Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach grabbed it.
Just another Hollywood ending.
Foundation was originally published as a series of eight short stories in Astounding Magazine beginning in 1942, "Foundation" is a complex saga about humans who are scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. Hari Selden, a psycho-historian who can scientifically predict the future, sees an imminent empire collapse, and sets in motion a plan to save civilization and the knowledge of mankind.