Directing a movie that makes $400 million has its perks. Joseph Kosinski for example, who directed TRON: Legacy for Disney, had hoped to make his next film, Oblivion, with that studio. They bought the pitch and also snatched him up to make a third Tron as well as The Black Hole. In the end though, Disney felt the subject matter of Oblivion was a bit too raw for their liking and decided to let the project go. But, seeing Kosinski as someone they wanted to keep around, they afforded him the rare option to shop it around.

Apparently now Universal, who was one of the studios interested in the property when it first hit the market, is back in the driver’s seat, hoping to land the script, director and possibly even Tom Cruise to star in the sci-fi romance. Read more about the project, and how it could take the place of Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, below.

Deadline exclusively broke the news of Universal’s interest in Oblivion, which at one point was retitled Horizons, though they don’t refer to it as that.

One of the sticking points for Universal is that Kosinski would have to bring the movie in for about $100 million dollars and at PG-13, which were two of the points that stopped Guillermo Del Toro from doing his sci-fi epic At the Mountains of Madness with the studio. His $150 million R-rated movie with Tom Cruise was a much bigger gamble than a 50% cheaper, PG-13 movie also with Tom Cruise. For Universal, it’s win win. They get a cheaper, tentpole genre movie with the same mega star. Cruise has yet to sign anything, but is in talks.

Oblivion, which is soon to be published as a graphic novel created by Kosinski and Arvid Nelson, was completed while he was making TRON: Legacy. The pair always created the property as the blueprint for a feature length film. Screenwriter of The Departed, William Monahan, wrote an adaptation which was then rewritten by Karl Gajdusek. Here’s the description of the plot from the Deadline article:

Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story that takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that has been rendered for the most part uninhabitable. An earthbound soldier — stuck there repairing drones that patrol and blast a savage alien life form — encounters a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft, and they have an experience that forces him to question his world view.

It sounds awesome and, to really make it gritty, Universal is certainly a better match than Disney. Do you think this film will see the light of day?

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