UPDATE: Universal informs us that the deal has closed.
Robert Zemeckis‘ Imagemovers, the high-profile company that was recently shut down by Disney and produced the costly spring flop Mars Needs Moms, is on the verge of a comeback.
Sources tell THR that Imagemovers—run by Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke—is in negotiations to sign a two-year first-look deal with Universal, though the company would look a lot different this time around.
Imagemovers’ previous deal, known to have been especially rich, included the creation of a studio facility in Marin County, Calif., where Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director of Forrest Gump and Cast Away, made such motion-capture movies as The Polar Express and Beowulf. At its peak it employed around 450 workers before Disney pulled the plug in 2010.
The Universal deal would be more of a traditional overall production pact. Terms and length are still being finalized, but the arrangement would call on Zemeckis to develop and produce both live-action and motion capture projects. No visual effects or sound stages campuses will be built.
The deal would bring Zemeckis back in business with the studio for which he made the classic Back to the Future trilogy as well as Death Becomes Her. He also exec produced Uni’s The Frighteners, which served as Peter Jackson’s first foray into the Hollywood studio
Zemeckis is a producer on DreamWorks’ Real Steel, which opens October 7, and, with his Imagemovers shingle is producing an adaptation of the Chuck Sambuchino book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, set up at Sony Pictures Animation.
The director was also working on a remake of the classic Beatles film Yellow Submarine. The project was to have been made by Disney but is currently without a home. It is not known if Submarine would end up at Universal.