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3 YEARS

'Mortal Kombat' Video Game Headed Back to the Big Screen

New Line has hired Kevin Tancharoen to direct a new adaptation of the classic fighting game.

Mortal Kombat 3D
Nintendo DS

Mortal Kombat is heading back to the big-screen.

New Line is hiring the filmmakers of the popular Mortal Kombat digital series, made earlier this year by corporate sibling Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, to take on a new adaptation of the classic 1990s fighting game.

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The movie deal marks the end of a journey for Kevin Tancharoen, who will direct the new film. Tancharoen, a choreographer for Madonna and Britney Spears who directed the 2009 remake of Fame and more recently the Glee concert movie, directed a short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth as a proof of concept for a Kombat movie he tried to pitch. A huge fan of the video game (and knowing Hollywood wouldn’t give him a shot at the title), he enlisted Oren Uziel to write the short and hired actors such as Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan.

The short was viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube, and although no movie deal materialized, he was asked to direct the 10-episode web series, which debuted in April, attracting more than 50 million unique visitors.

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Off that success, Warners and New Line execs thought it was time to try to revisit a big-screen effort. (New Line made a Mortal Kombat movie in 1995, which grossed more than $70 million domestically and helped launch a directing career for Paul W. S. Anderson. A follow-up movie in 1997, however, fizzled.)

Uziel is returning to write the new movie, which is still in the development stages. There is no actor attached and the new story will not serve as an extension of the game or digital series.

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Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada are overseeing for New Line.

The game’s long-standing appeal lies in being able to face off against an opponent, using various weapons and fighting styles, via human or alien avatars. The catchy title doesn’t hurt, either.

Tancharoen is repped by ICM and Anonymous Content. Uziel, who also wrote the Black List script Kitchen Sink, is repped by ICM and Circle of Confusion.