Spielberg Jumps Jackson’s Bones

DreamWorks has won the week-long bidding war for “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson’s next movie, committing at least $65 million adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling 2002 tome “The Lovely Bones.”

Sebold’s book tells the story of a 14-year-old who has been raped and killed, and now watches over her family and killer. Insiders tell Variety that the acquisition deal came in at just under $65 million, but that might not include a $25 million contingency fee.

The move isn’t a surprise though. DreamWorks fought hard for the film rights to Sebold’s book several years ago before the rights went to Jackson, whilst Jackson’s “King Kong” was made at Universal when it was being run by current DreamWorks CEO-co-chair Stacey Snider.

Jackson is set to begin shooting in October in Pennsylvania and New Zealand from a script he co-wrote with “Lord of the Rings” collaborators Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. Film 4 will produce in association with Dreamworks.

Paramount, which owns DreamWorks, will distribute “Bones” worldwide, with Jackson promising to deliver the film by the fourth quarter 2008.