It really is a Neverending Story: A remake develops

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

A reboot of the classic 1984 fantasy movie The Neverending Story is in the early stages of development at Warner Brothers under the Kennedy/Marshall Co. (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Leonard DiCaprio's Appian Way, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The two production entities are reportedly in discussions with Warner about reviving the 25-year-old franchise with a modern spin. The studio recently acquired rights to the property, clearing the way for a potential remake.

Born out of a German-language novel by Michael Ende, the film centers on a boy named Bastian Balthazar Bux who discovers a parallel world in a book titled The NeverEnding Story. As the boy, a loner, delves deeper into the book, he increasingly finds his life intertwined with the plot of the novel, in which a hero in the land of Fantasia must save the universe on behalf of an empress.

The new movie—which original producer Dieter Geissler also will produce and Sarah Schechter and Jesse Ehrman will oversee for Warner—will examine the more nuanced details of the book that were glossed over in the first film.

Wolfgang Petersen directed and Neue Constantin produced the original for Warner, which earned a respectable $20 million when it was released in 1984. The film has had a long life on home video and an even larger influence on popular culture, prefiguring Harry Potter and other present-day children's fantasies.

A sequel directed by George Miller came out in 1990 and earned $17 million; a third movie followed in the U.S. in 1996 but quickly went to video.

Those familiar with the project emphasize that it is in its early stages and that writers have not been attached.