The escalation of movie production prices continued this week when Cinergi Productions, run by former Carolco partner Andrew Vajna, agreed to pay more than $2.5 million for a script called "The Stand"--written by Oscar winner Tom Schulman ("Dead Poets Society")--and several million more for the film's director, producer and star, according to industry sources.
Cinergi officials declined to discuss any costs associated with the film, but confirmed that John McTiernan, one of Hollywood's most successful action directors ("Hunt for Red October" and "Die Hard"), would direct the film.
Set in the Amazon jungle, "The Stand"--which will star Sean Connery--is a romantic action story that a McTiernan representative said brings to mind the 1951 Katharine Hepburn-Humphrey Bogart classic, "The African Queen." Disney will distribute the movie, which will be filmed in Brazil and Central America starting in January.
The price for the script did not reach the record set by Joe Eszterhas' "Basic Instinct." Carolco bought that script for $3 million in June and agreed to pay $1 million to producer Irwin Winkler as well as more than $10 million to star Michael Douglas, according to industry sources.
But, according to some reports, the total tab Cinergi agreed to pay for the script of "The Stand"--added to the services of McTiernan, Connery, executive producer Donna Dubrow, and Schulman as producer--could bring the cost of the movie close to $20 million even before the remainder of the cast and crew has been hired and the cameras have started rolling.