Somebody must really like Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. Not only did he just get $100 million for a project that was in danger of not happening just two months ago, but he landed Tom Cruise to star in it.
According to Deadline, Universal Pictures is ponying up the budget for Oblivion, a SF epic based on a graphic novel created by Kosinski (which will be out later this year), while Cruise has committed to starring in the picture. Production will begin in October on the film, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where most of humanity now lives in the clouds and the surface of the Earth has been ravaged by hostile aliens. Cruise will presumably play the main character, who fixes the drones that hunt down the aliens and finds a beautiful woman in a crashed spaceship who alters his view of the world.
Disney had originally won the film rights while the studio was high on Kosinski and the job he was doing directing Tron: Legacy. But when Tron did not do Avatar-like business at the box office—it made $400 million worldwide, nothing to sneeze at but not quite the behemoth Disney had planned on—the studio began to have second thoughts about Oblivion. It also tried to get Kosinski to water it down from a PG-13 rating to a PG to attract a bigger family audience, which ended up not working to anyone's satisfaction.
Disney did allow Kosinski to shop it around and Universal, which had been bidding for it last year at the same time as Disney, snapped it up. Strangely enough, Universal only recently put the brakes on another mammoth SF/horror film starring Cruise—Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness—because Del Toro refused to pare it down from an R rating to PG-13.
Does the team-up of Cruise and Kosinski with this story sound like a winning combination to you?