Just how many times can one ship sink? The answer in Hollywood these days is three.
On May 16, NBC announced that its 2005-06 TV schedule will be anchored in part by an update of 1972's disaster-movie classic The Poseidon Adventure. This came soon after Warner Bros. (a division of EW parent Time Warner), director Wolfgang Petersen, and reality TV maestro Mike Fleiss announced that they were prepping their own remake, due next summer on the big screen.
Is the ocean big enough for both boats? ''Sure,'' says NBC Universal's Jeff Gaspin, who bought his Hallmark Entertainment-produced film in March in order to build on the success of last year's TV disaster hit 10.5. (Hallmark holds the TV remake rights to the original book, while Warner Bros., which produced 1979's feature Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, has movie privileges.) ''These movies work over and over and over,'' Gaspin insists. ''Earthquakes, hurricanes, twisters, they're real enough that people get it.'' Like many who grew up in the 1970s, Gaspin is a longtime fan of the Irwin Allen classic, so he welcomes the Warner Bros. film: ''I can't wait to see their version.''
Though a cast and plot have yet to be revealed by the studio, a Warner Bros. spokesperson says production will start in June, adding that the two projects will be quite different. Indeed, NBC's movie cost $20 million to produce, which is pennies to Petersen, known for the megabudget Troy and The Perfect Storm. The TV remake also pivots on a timely twist: The titular ocean liner capsizes not after being struck by an errant wave but after a suicide bomber blows a hole in the hull.
Whatever. Frankly, we're skeptical that either will work without Shelley ''In the water I'm a very skinny lady'' Winters to save the day. Some classics you just shouldn't mess with.