Columbia Adapts Polar Express Author’s Zathura

As Warner Bros. and Castle Rock Ent. prepare for the November release of their CG-animated adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express, Columbia Pictures is set to begin lensing its film adaptation of the children’s author’s Zathura in August, according to Daily Variety. Oscar winner Tim Robbins (Mystic River) will play a central role and Elf helmer Jon Favreau will direct from a screenplay by David Koepp, John Kamps and Eric Fogel.

Van Allsburg wrote Zathura as a sequel to his 1981 book, Jumanji, which Columbia adapted for the big-screen in 1995. The book begins as brothers Danny and Walter Budwing stumble upon the Jumanji jungle game in the park and discover that it contains a second game board with an outer-space theme. The boys are then unwittingly drawn into an intergalactic adventure.

Columbia optioned the book four years ago and planned to make it as a sequel to Jumanji, but has since decided to make it stand on its own. Michael De Luca and Bill Teitler are producing the film with co-producer Peter Billingsley. Radar Pictures’ Ted Field and Louis D’Esposito are exec producing.