'Sin City' sequel up for grabs?

Dimension's option on rights appears to have lapsed

The sequel rights to "Sin City," Frank Miller's popular noir comic, are being shopped around Hollywood, in what appears to be a sign that Dimension Films has lost rights to the property.

The Weinstein Co./Dimension continue to maintain that they hold the rights to any sequel for the Robert Rodriguez film, which grossed $159 million worldwide when it came out in 2005.

But producers say they have been shopped the rights by reps for Miller's estate, who they say are seeking a new place to set up a potential follow-up.

If the Weinsteins' option did lapse, it could have happened for reasons ranging from development inactivity to a decision not to pay to re-up. Sequel rights generally require a certain amount of activity within a defined period to remain with the original rights holder, though in many deals those periods stretch much longer than the four years that have elapsed since the original "Sin City" came out.

It is unclear what kind of involvement Rodriguez, who directed the first movie and has strong connections to both TWC and Miller, would have with a potential sequel.

"Sin City," starring Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis and Rosario Dawson, was made for about $45 million and told the story of corruption in the fictional Basin City; it garnered praise for its stylized violence and dark themes.

After its release, Dimension quickly put a sequel into development, with Angelina Jolie expressing interest in a role. The project, however, has since languished in development.

Online rumors that Dimension had lost the rights first surfaced several weeks ago but were quashed by TWC attorney Bert Fields, who called them "hogwash."

"TWC's rights to produce sequels to 'Sin City' remain intact as they always have been," he stated at the time. TWC said Wednesday that it stood by that statement.