Fox to pick up Narnia franchise for third film

Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:01pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Twentieth Century Fox has stepped in to partner with Walden Media on at least one more film based on the C.S. Lewis children's book series "The Chronicles of Narnia," after the Walt Disney Co bowed out, a Fox spokesman said on Thursday.

The News Corp-owned studio plans to release the film during late 2010, the Fox spokesman said. No information was released about production costs for the film, "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," which would be the third based on Lewis' beloved fantasy novels.

Disney bowed out of the franchise last month, citing "budgetary considerations and other logistics," three years after touting "Narnia" as its next blockbuster film property.

The effects-laden films cost Disney and Walden an estimated $180 million to $200 million to produce.

The two studios collaborated on the 2005 hit, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", which grossed $745 million at box offices worldwide, and on "Prince Caspian", whose grosses sank to $420 million last year partly from stiff summer box office competition.

Both titles were top DVD sellers.

Walden could not be reached for comment. (Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Bernard Orr)