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Credit: 20th Century Fox

Development: Disney-Fox merger aiming for March; Final Destination getting rebooted; Amblin acquires horror/thriller script

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Jan 11, 2019, 7:20 PM EST

A more precise date for the closing of the Disney-Fox merger leads this afternoon's roundup of the latest development news.

A report from Variety has narrowed down the final closing date of the merger between Disney and 20th Century Fox to early March. So apparently we're a little under two months away from the Mouse House taking control of one of Hollywood's oldest and most iconic studios — not to mention a slew of properties that include Marvel's X-Men and Fantastic Four canons, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, and Alien.

Of course, Marvel fans will be watching to see just what will happen when a huge swath of the Marvel Universe finally comes under the control of Marvel Studios, with reboots of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four almost certainly likely to happen sometime within the next few years, not to mention the introduction of many more characters previously controlled by Fox into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Fox's next two Marvel movies, Dark Phoenix and New Mutants, are due out in June and August respectively, and are presumably the last we'll see from the Marvel mini-universe that Fox has built over the last 19 years. And while nothing has been officially confirmed, we've seen unsubstantiated rumors that many other Fox Marvel projects developed over the past few years — including Doctor Doom, X-Force, Gambit, Multiple Man, and Silver Surfer — are all pretty much dead for now ... or at least until they're given new life as part of the MCU.

The Final Destination horror franchise is about to get revived. According to The Wrap, screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan will write the script for the sixth installment in the series, which will be produced, like all the others, by Warner Bros. Pictures' New Line Cinema division.

Melton and Dunstan launched their careers with the movie Feast but are best known to genre fans for writing the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of the Saw series. Their other scripts include The Collector and its sequel, The Collection (which Dunstan also directed), Piranha 3DD, and the upcoming Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (they've also worked on unproduced Hellraiser and Halloween sequels, as well as a big-screen version of The Outer Limits).

The five previous Final Destination films each feature a group of people who avoid dying in a mass-casualty accident thanks to one person having a premonition about it, only to be stalked by Death and dispatched in various inventive ways afterward. (Interesting trivia: The first film was penned by original writer Jeffrey Riddick as an episode of The X-Files before being retuned into a feature.)

The series was a reliable cash cow for New Line from 2000 through 2011, earning more than $655 million against a total budget of $154 million for all five entries. Actors like Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, Devon Sawa, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tony Todd, David Koechner, and others have all shown up in the franchise at one point or another. Strangely, series regular Todd just said recently why he didn't think a new entry could happen. Apparently he didn't get the memo.


Credit: A24

How does the idea of a film described as "Don't Breathe meets Hereditary" grab you? That's the pitch for The White Room, a new horror/thriller script that has been acquired by Amblin.

According to Deadline, the screenplay by Bryce McQuire is set in a remote region of the Adirondack Mountains during the off-season, and takes place over the course of one night. When a mysterious young woman disappears, a tough widow who lives in the area investigates why she vanished — and soon learns that the girl may have been carted off by something that is not quite human.

The role of the widow apparently calls for a "mature actress," where the Hereditary comparisons may come into play. Directing the picture will be Rod Blackhurst, who helmed the post-apocalyptic 2016 sci-fi film Here Alone and the crime documentary Amanda Knox. Casting and production will begin shortly, as Amblin wants to get this one rolling. Wouldn't you, with that description?