LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Thank "Avatar" for Hollywood's resurgent interest in sci-fi.
Fox is getting ready to bet on sci-fi again and is the lead contender to pick up an original spec script titled "Ion."
Channing Tatum ("Dear John") is attached to star in the project, which is labeled a sci-fi romantic epic, with Ridley and Tony Scott attached to produce. Tatum will also serve as a producer.
The plot revolves around a man who travels to different Earths and dimensions in order to find his reincarnated lover. Execs are using the magic word -- "Avatar" -- to describe the scope and otherworldly elements of the script.
"Ion" actually made the rounds last year but didn't take. In the post-"Avatar" Hollywood, however, the script is generating renewed interest. It attracted the Scott brothers, who helped develop British writer Will Dunn's script further, which led to Tatum's involvement.
But credit "Avatar," with its record-breaking $2.7 billion worldwide take and envelope-pushing technology, as well as the strong critical and commercial showing of last year's "Star Trek" and "District 9," for opening the door for sci-fi projects like never before.
Since "Avatar" introduced the Navi'i to Hollywood, a slew of projects have been set up. Among them:
"All You Need is Kill" - Warner Bros. plunked seven figures for Dante Harper-scripted adaptation of a Japanese novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The story follows a new recruit in a war against aliens who finds himself caught in a time loop where he wakes up one day in the past after having been killed on the battlefield. Doug Liman is now circling to direct the movie.
"Mass Effect" - In May, WB-based producer Legendary picked up the rights to the Electronic Arts-BioWare video game. Mark Protosevich, the scribe who wrote "I Am Legend" and worked on "Thor," is writing the script. "Mass" is an epic sci-fi action game set in the year 2183, focusing on a human soldier and his starship, the SSV Normandy. The galaxy-spanning story involves a long-extinct race of aliens, dormant beacons and more alien species than you can shake a box of Unobtanium at.
"Pacific Rim" - Also in May, Legendary picked up a 25-page treatment from "Clash of the Titans" scribe Travis Beacham. The story is reportedly set in a future in which malevolent creatures threaten the earth, and the planet must band together and use highly advanced technology to eradicate the growing menace.
"Logan's Run" - The title had been at Warners for years, but is benefiting from the sci-fi wave. Carl Rinsch is now on board to direct and "28 Days Later..." writer Alex Garland is penning the script.