Back in May 2011, Annapurna Pictures beat out Lionsgate in a heated bidding war for the rights to the franchise, for a reported sum of $20 million. The deal has finally closed just recently, although former rights holder Pacifcorp will be receiving less than the original deal. Pacificorp shelled out $29.5 million for the rights after Halcyon went bankrupt.
There is no screenwriter or director in place yet, but the producers are facing a ticking-clock situation. The rights will revert back to franchise creator James Cameron in 2019, under new copyright laws. The original deal, which called for three films, has been scaled back to two, since that may be all they have time to make before the rights switch hands once again.
Both David Ellison and Megan Ellison served as executive producers on True Grit, but their resumes couldn't be more different aside from that collaboration. David Ellison has focused on big-budget tentpoles such as Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol and G.I. Joe Retaliation, while Megan Ellison is behind Oscar bait such as The Master and Silver Linings Playbook.