Steven Spielberg turns the reins of Tintin over to Peter Jackson

Steven Spielberg this week will quietly wrap 32 days of performance-capture lensing on Tintin, Variety reported, then hand the project to producer Peter Jackson, who will focus on the film's special effects for the next 18 months.

Spielberg and co-producer Kathleen Kennedy acquired the project in 1983 after Spielberg's interest was piqued by critics' insistence that his Raiders of the Lost Ark harkened back to Tintin's escapades in exotic locations.

The Tintin comicbook series about a globetrotting teenaged boy reporter, which originated 80 years ago in Belgium, is wildly popular in many countries around the world. In the U.S., however, the character is little-known, especially among children.

Spielberg and Jackson's respective camps have tried to keep a lid on the details of what is expected to become a three-film franchise while hyping the one-of-a-kind aspects of Tintin's motion-capture technology, which is being created by Jackson's New Zealand-based effects house Weta. Spielberg will receive sole directing credit on the first film, though that distinction seems murky given that Jackson is doing the more time-consuming work, spending a year and a half creating the Tintin world vs. Spielberg's one month on set.

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