That long-awaited, big-screen movie version of Dune is DEAD

After four years of development, the plug has been pulled on the latest attempt to bring Frank Herbert's classic novel Dune to the screen.

Deadline reports that with the rights to the material about to revert back to its owners after four years, Paramount Pictures has decided to cut its losses and give up on a new big-screen version of the book, which has been filmed twice already as a 1984 movie and a 2000 Syfy miniseries.

Richard P. Rubinstein, who owns the film rights to Dune, said, "Paramount's option has expired and we couldn't reach an agreement. I'm going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I'm not sure yet."

The reason why Paramount didn't want to pick up the option and keep working at it? Money, says Rubinstein, who added, "Sure, it's frustrating, how long this has taken, but most of what I've done that worked out well over the years, like the miniseries The Stand, took a long time."

The ins and outs of the latest Dune movie can be found here. The studio went through two directors and several screenplays, finally getting a script (by Chase Palmer) that everyone was happy with. But the more than $100 million needed to get the project off the ground ultimately made Paramount too nervous to pull the trigger.

Rubinstein said that right now, Dune has "no commitments or attachments," but he remains optimistic about getting the movie made: "Since I know what I want, eventually, I'll find someone who'll agree with me. What I like is that talent has interesting things to say on how they would approach it." He added that if the project finds a home at another studio, he may revisit Palmer's script and get back in touch with the last director involved with the picture, Pierre Morel (Taken).

Meanwhile, according to Vulture, Dune isn't the only big-budget sci-fi movie that is running into trouble at Paramount. The studio may also scrap another long-in-development project, an adaptation of Max Brooks' excellent zombie apocalypse novel World War Z, if it can't find an investing partner to pony up some of the $125 million price tag. That's after star/producer Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster have already agreed to make it a PG-13 picture. This all comes on the heels of a different studio, Universal, dropping Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness because he wouldn't budge from an R rating for that $150 million epic.

What is going on here? Are the studios getting more and more nervous about risky, expensive sci-fi adaptations? Do you think we have ANY chance of seeing works like Dune on the big screen again?

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