Fox Wins Timur Bekmambetov's 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'; Planning A 2012 Release... In 3D

A bidding war recently commenced for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and 20th Century Fox came out the victor. The film is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith's novel of the same name, from a script also written by Grahame-Smith. Tim Burton is producing, and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch) is directing.

More updates after the break.

Variety says pre-production is already underway, as Fox hopes to get this one out in time for a 2012 release. The film is budgeted at $69 million, and will be released in 3D. (No word on whether it's being shot in 3D, or post-converted like Burton's Alice in Wonderland.)

Fox did all they could to win this one, presenting a detailed pitch for the production, marketing and release of the picture. Beyond that, they one-upped other studios by putting on an elaborate presentation to impress the filmmakers: huge banners hung over the studio lot; parking spaces read "Parking for Vampire Hunters Only, Park at your own risk."; bloody footprints led them to the meeting; silver bullets and bloody axes were placed around the offices; and so on.

Odd to learn that studios were vying hard for the film, considering the title alone would seem to make it a hard sell to anyone that isn't you or me. But I suppose the financial viability of a project changes a smidge when a billion-dollar grossing filmmaker is backing it. Add to the equation a studio rash enough to fight for a Beach Boys musical, and you have yourself one of the crazier sounding studio blockbusters to get the greenlight in recent years.

Previously, Bekmambetov had this to say about the film:

It is not a comedy at all – it is a very entertaining, epic history lesson for millions and millions of teenagers. If you remember Night Watch, it is maybe in the vein of that kind of movie. We are keeping the traditional look of Lincoln – the big hat and the beard. He has to be historically correct, but with a few special weapons.

Here's Publisher's Weekly recap of the book:

Seth Grahame-Smith inserts a grandiose and gratuitous struggle with vampires into Abraham Lincoln's life. Lincoln learns at an early age that his mother was killed by a supernatural predator. This provokes his bloody but curiously undocumented lifelong vendetta against vampires and their slave-owning allies. The author's decision to reduce slavery to a mere contrivance of the vampires is unfortunate bordering on repellent, but at least it does distract the reader from the central question of why the president never saw fit to inform the public of the supernatural menace.

And here's the promo trailer for the book: