Twentieth Century Fox won a ferocious bidding battle for “The Day After Tomorrow,” a script based in part on the book ?The Coming Global Superstorm? by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber. This will be a big-budget, high-concept film in which the world is ravaged by global warming. The picture will be directed by Roland Emmerich, who directed “Independence Day,” which was one of the biggest grossing films ever, with $900 million worldwide.

Emmerich wrote the script with Jeffrey Nachmanoff, a writer whose credits include “Hollywood Palms” and “The Big Gig.” The story revolves around an abrupt climate change that has dramatic consequences for the world. Fox has agreed to put “The Day After Tomorrow” in pre-production immediately for a fall start. The cost of cinematically destroying the world has changed a great deal over the years, due to new computer animation techniques that will make it possible for the film to show hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and show the onset of the next ice age.

Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Tom Rothman says the property’s appeal stems in part from the fact that the majority of the budget will be visible onscreen in the myriad natural disasters depicted in the cautionary spectacle. “It might reach $100 million, but the reason it won’t hit that higher number is that the star is Roland and what he puts on the screen,” Rothman says. “There’s no need for star casting, and that was one of a number of appealing factors which made so many studios want it. This ain’t a sequel, it ain’t a remake, and while there are plenty of those being made, we feel audiences are going to want new experiences. It was a terrific script that’s ready to go right away. It’s a big idea with an excellent producer and a filmmaker who does this kind of movie par excellence.”

The film’s Fox-based producer Mark Gordon, who has been involved in his share of hits like “Speed” and “Saving Private Ryan,” says he’s never had a script generate this much action so early on.

Before you see the movie, read the book. To get a hardcover copy of ?The Coming Global Superstorm? by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, autographed by Whitley, for only $9.95, click here.

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