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Film Giant Snaps Up Feature Film After New Line Cinema Option Lapses

After months of sometimes frustrating delays, the feature film rights to Spawn II have been purchased by Columbia. The deal will be co-produced by Don Murphy and his Sony-affiliated AngryFilms.

    New Line Cinema, which made the original Spawn movie in 1997, held the rights to the new film. When those rights recently lapsed, the project reverted to creator Todd McFarlane before being snapped up by Columbia for an undisclosed sum.

    "Columbia is a bigger studio," said McFarlane when asked if he was pleased with the new deal. "Because New Line let the rights lapse, in terms of studio scale, I'm upgrading."

    Sources say the film is on a fast track now, with script work being done by McFarlane and writer Steve Niles. Plans call for McFarlane to also co-produce this film in conjunction with Todd McFarlane Entertainment president Terry Fitzgerald.

    The new Spawn film will be markedly different from the first. It will likely have an R rating and will be darker in tone, bringing to the big screen McFarlane's stated desire to re-create Spawn as a boogeyman rather than a superhero.

    "My intent with the second Spawn movie is to not make it a sequel in the truest sense, but to make it a reinvention of the character," McFarlane said. "If you watched both movies back to back, you'd be comparing apples and oranges. One's a PG-13 action, special effects movie, the other being an R-rated dark thriller with elements of horror."

    "I always felt, even three years later, Spawn is still valid," McFarlane continued. "I'm just letting the character evolve naturally."

    In a perfect world, McFarlane said, the movie could be in production by the end of 2001.

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