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EXCLUSIVE: 'Found Footage' Project Dies at Warners (But Is Saved By Dark Castle)

The hot "found footage" project Apollo 18 has claimed another victim. But this story might have a happy ending.

Over the weekend, the Weinstein Co. announced that it had boarded the Timur Bekmambetov-produced Apollo and would release the low-budget sci-fi thriller in March. In the wake of that, on Tuesday, Roland Emmerich pulled the plug on The Zone, another "found footage" project that was to have started shooting next week.

Now Heat Vision has learned that yet another "found footage" project has been shelved -- but this time another company is negotiating to pick it up in turnaround. Yes, the space race is still on.

Here's the backstory: In mid-October, Warner Bros. picked up Dark Moon, a spec script written by Olatunde Osunsanmi, for Akiva Goldsman to produce via his Weed Road shingle. Osunsanmi was also on board to direct the movie, which is in the "found footage" genre.

The genre's conceit is that the footage purports to be genuine reels, tapes or files found after the person operating the camera expires or disappears. Alien invasion flick Cloverfield kicked off the recent trend, which also encompasses the hugely successful Paranormal Activity movies.

Like Apollo 18, Moon is based on the idea that NASA's manned moon missions did not stop with Apollo 17. Moon follows a black ops mission sent to explore previously classified lunar discoveries.

But when Warners execs learned Sunday of TWC and Bekmambetov's project, they got nervous. On Monday, a top Warners exec made calls to the Moon men to tell them their mission was grounded (put in turnaround).

Enter Dark Castle's Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. The execs at Joel Silver's Warners-based genre shingle had read the Moon script and were fans. On Tuesday they brought it to Silver, who liked what he read and authorized the company to pick Moon up.

Negotiations are still ongoing, but Moon will now be financed and made by Dark Castle, with Weed Road still on board as a producer. The project will shoot this winter -- ironically, for distribution next year via Warners, as per Dark Castle's output deal with the studio.

Call Mission Control and resume the countdown.