Those of us who are Tintin nerds will appreciate this update from Variety blogger Anne Thompson:
Sony and Paramount are in talks to co-finance two Tintin films in the Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson series based on the Belgian Tintin comics. (The NYT first announced the story.) Both studios confirm that talks are under way.
After resolving the Paramount/DreamWorks divorce, putting together a studio deal for Tintin was next on Spielberg's agenda. After Universal balked at partnering on the first installment, which will be directed by Spielberg, Paramount offered to back the first Tintin movie with a reduced back end at $135 million.
Spielberg had planned to be already shooting the 3-D performance-capture film, and lost the participation of his lead actor Thomas Sangster when the financing fell apart at Universal at the last minute, on the eve of DreamWorks/Paramont divorce. This is not a DreamWorks picture; if the deal goes through, Paramount is planning to distribute in North America and some other English-speaking territories, while Sony will handle the foreign release. Tintin should be completed for a 2010 release.
Jackson was planning to direct the follow-up. The DreamWorks deal was originally for three films. The NYT is reporting two: one Spielberg, one Jackson. As I understand it, Jackson wasn't thrilled with the Paramount offer, so a partner offered another way to go. Jackson went through an ugly lawsuit with New Line Cinema over monies owed on The Lord of the Rings. His DreamWorks film The Lovely Bones has been delivered to Paramount for release in the fall of 2009.