DreamWorks attending 'Boo U.'

Untitled ghost project aimed at a 2012 release

DreamWorks Animation must be spooked.

The studio is pushing forward with a new untitled ghost project that is competing for a fourth-quarter 2012 release slot.

The project, referred to internally as "Boo U.," recently picked up writer Jon Vitti ("The Simpsons Movie"), who will pen the screenplay. The story line centers on a ghost who is bad at his job and must return to ghost school.

The project will be directed by Tony Leondis ("Igor") and executive produced by Gil Netter and Courtney Pledger.

Another ghost-centric film, referred to as "Freakers," is being written by Joe Syracuse & Lisa Addario ("Surf's Up") and centers on a ghost story told from the ghosts' point of view, in their world.

A third ghost-related story idea is in the pitch stage.

In late May, DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose contract recently was extended to 2013, said a "supersecret ghost project" was on the books for a potential late-2012 slot. "Boo U." is that project.

"Puss in Boots" (March 30) and a third "Madagascar" movie (May) also are slated for release in 2012. The ghost picture would hit theaters Nov. 12, unless the caveman comedy "The Croods" or the Terry Pratchett adaptation "Truckers" makes the cut instead.

Katzenberg has mandated that all future projects will be made in the 3D format. The studio's most recent 3D release, "Monsters vs. Aliens," has grossed $362 million worldwide.

Vitti has been a writer and producer on "Saturday Night Live," "The Larry Sanders Show," "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill." He also worked as a story consultant and writer on "Ice Age," "Robots," "Ice Age: The Meltdown," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," "Horton Hears a Who!" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," which hits theaters Christmas Day.

Leondis, repped by WME and Anonymous Content, has worked on the animated films "The Prince of Egypt," "The Road to El Dorado" and "Home on the Range."