Roland Emmerich's low-budget alien invasion film CANCELED

Remember that new movie from director Roland Emmerich that was announced a few weeks back, a "found footage" film about an alien invasion? Well, we have some bad news for you.

Heatvision says that the movie, called The Zone, has been canceled just one week before shooting was scheduled to begin. The picture, said to cost around $5 million, was supposed to be a low-cost, lo-fi change of pace for Emmerich, who's known for widescreen $150 million behemoths like 2012. But the director's reps have issued a statement simply saying, "This is not a project [Emmerich] is pursuing at this time."

The movie had already been cast (with more or less unknown actors), and Columbia Pictures had been contemplating an April release for the movie—which may be at least partly the reason for the shutdown.

It seems that in March, the Weinstein Company will release Apollo 18, a new movie produced by Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov. It's also a found footage film, chronicling a fictional NASA launch that encounters alien life forms on the moon. It's rumored that Emmerich did not want his movie to follow so closely on the heels of Bekmambetov's production.

So why not just move the release date further into 2011? Well then, if you're Emmerich, you're dealing with Battle: Los Angeles, which takes a documentary-like look at an alien takeover of L.A., and J.J. Abrams' Super 8. Not much is known about that movie except that it involves an alien and that some of it may be shot as home movie footage (it is called Super 8, after all). The Fourth Kind director Olatunde Osunsanmi is also preparing a found-footage project for next year called Dark Moon.

Plus, with Paranormal Activity 2 and Monsters out now (the former is in the found-footage format, the latter is not but is still low-budget), there's maybe a sense that this subgenre is becoming crowded very quickly.

We're sorry to see Emmerich's project fall by the wayside, as it sounded interesting. But do you think that he may have been smart to pull the plug? Is the "found footage" genre becoming too big too fast?

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