Warner Bros. Fast Tracks David Dobkin's Arthur & Lancelot Comedy
The Knights of the Round Table-- you know, King Arthur, Lancelot, the sword in the stone, Gallahad, all those guys-- are the kind of historical figures who get recycled into movies of all shapes and sizes. There's the classic parody take from Monty Python, the classic dull epic take in King Arthur, the classic-only-to-me A Kid in King Arthur's Court, and dozens of others in-between. Last month news broke that Wedding Crashes and The Change-Up director David Dobkin would be the latest director to mine the ancient knights for comedy, with Warner Bros. picking up his spec scripts Arthur & Lancelot to the tune of $2 million. We knew they were excited to move forward with the script, but now we know just how eager they are to get going.
According to Deadline, the studio has set a release date of March 15, 2013 for the film, which means Dobkin has about 20 months to finish the script, cast the film, and shoot a movie described as a "$90 million budget contemporary re-imagining of the classic tale." I guess he'll save time not having to scout medieval locations and hiring a bunch of horse wranglers, but still, a $90 million comedy suggests something large-scale. As if the huge budget and fast-tracked release date didn't tell you already, the studio is so gung ho about the movie that they've essentially cancelled the competing Excalibur remakes they were developing simultaneously, one from Bryan Singer and the other coming from Guy Ritchie. Sure, those guys have plenty else going on to keep them busy, but I imagine neither is happy to hear this morning that they've been bumped out by the director of Fred Claus.
The one thing that surprises me about the studio's enthusiasm over Arthur & Lancelot is the recent flop of Your Highness, a stoner movie set in the middle ages that wasn't exactly similar, but still tried to make guys in armor and swords palatable to a fratty audience. I guess the modern day setting is enough of a difference to make WB enthusiastic, and again, this is the guy who turned a story about Santa's dumb younger brother into a $97 million worldwide success. Say what you will about Dobkin, but he tends to know what people want even if they don't know themselves.
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