Spielberg, Jackson digging for 'Tintin'

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Tintin may have a new benefactor.

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are in the process of trying to line up a co-financing and co-distribution partner for their in-the-works trilogy of "Tintin" films, set up at Paramount Pictures. The director-producers are trying to entice Sony Pictures, which is now in discussions with Paramount, to help finance the films and take on international distribution.

Universal Pictures, which just entered into a seven-year distribution deal with the newly separated DreamWorks, of which Spielberg is a principal, last month declined to finance half of the first picture at a $130 million price tag.

At that time, Paramount quickly offered to finance the entire project, but the terms of the offer provoked the filmmakers to look for other options. Both Spielberg and Jackson, as two of the most successful and powerful director-producers in Hollywood, are accustomed to large back-end arrangements.

Should a deal close, Sony will not have a role in the creative development of the films, the first of which Spielberg is already in the process of directing. Jackson plans to direct the second.

Under the purported terms of the deal being negotiated, first reported by the New York Times, Paramount would retain distribution of the films in North America and several other English-seaking territories. This would seem to put the Melrose studio at a disadvantage given Tintin's enduring appeal outside of the States, where he is much less well known.

Spielberg has long been trying to make films about the famously intrepid, globetrotting young reporter. The director is using motion-capture technology to bring the character, created by Belgian artist Herge, to life. It is scheduled for release in 2010.

The Spielberg camp had no comment on the potential deal.
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