BREAKING: Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures have closed a fvie-year deal with Michael Witherill’s Rise Entertainment to develop and finance 1492’s films. The deal includes films that Columbus will direct and that he and partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe produce under the 1492 banner.

Films on the slate include an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Christ The Lord, about the formative years of Jesus Christ with script by Betsy and Cyrus Nowrasteh, with the latter aboard to direct; Home Front, an adaptation of the Kristin Hannah novel that Columbus adapted and will direct; and House Of Secrets. Latter is the first acquisition made under the new deal, and it’s the first novel in a trilogy that Columbus has written with Ned Vizzini. Columbus plans to direct that one as well, about three kids lost in a fantasy world trying to find their way home. The first novel will be published by HarperCollins next spring. Columbus is writing that script and plans to get in production early 2014. (more…)