EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that Universal Pictures and Mandeville Films are in development on Treasure Island, a new feature take inspired by the 1883 Robert Louis Stevenson novel which two-time Oscar nominated How to Train Your Dragon filmmaker Dean DeBlois will direct.
Beauty and the Beast scribe Evan Spiliotopoulos will write the script, collaborating with DeBlois on the story. Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman of Mandeville Films will produce via their Universal deal alongside DeBlois. It was recently announced that Paramount/Hasbro’s Micronauts would rep DeBlois’ first live-action feature directorial. With that pic dated for June 4, 2021, the thinking is that Micronauts will likely go first given that Treasure Island is in early development.
Treasure Island tells the story of young Jim Hawkins who is torn between his loyalty to his benefactors and his affection for Pirate Captain Long John Silver as they seek a buried pirate treasure. The three notable movies on Treasure Island include Victor Fleming’s 1934 movie starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in the respective roles of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins. Then there’s Walt Disney’s 1950 version with Robert Newton and Bobby Driscoll and the 1972 adaptation which starred Orson Welles as Silver. There were also two TV versions: TBS’ 1990 version starring Charlton Heston, Christian Bale, Oliver Reed and Christopher Lee and Syfy’s 2012 edition with Eddie Izzard, Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood which was nominated for two Primetime Emmys including TV movie costumes and cinematography.
Senior Vice President Alex Young will oversee the project on behalf of Mandeville Films. Universal’s Director of Development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Mandeville’s 2017 slate Beauty and the Beast, Wonder, and Stronger all together grossed a phenomenal $1.57 billion at the worldwide box office. This year, they have for awards consideration the Eddie Redmayne-Felicity Jones reteam Aeronauts from Amazon Studios which made its world premiere at Telluride, continued on to TIFF and plays the London Film Festival on Oct. 7 before its theatrical debut on Dec. 6. Mandeville also produced the ABC series The Fix and the Netflix film Extinction.
DeBlois is represented by WME and Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark. His How to Train Your Dragon trilogy for Dreamworks Animation has minted over $1.6 billion at the global box office. Spiliotopoulos’ credits also include Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a story by on Sony’s upcoming Charlie’s Angels, Netflix’s Bright 2 and Paramount’s Snake Eyes. He is represented by Cover 1 Entertainment, Inc, Fourth Wall Management and MARKS law group.