Night Watch and Day Watch: Twentieth Century Fox has apparently just signed a three-picture deal with Timur Bekmambetov, the writer-director of the Russian language blockbuster Night Watch ("Nochnoj dozor"). Fox Searchlight will distribute both the aforementioned film and its sequel, Day Watch. The studio will then fast track the production of a big-budget prequel to both films tentatively referred to as Dusk Watch. Leaving the door wide open for Fox to then remake both Night Watch and Day Watch if the prequel turns into a success story.
"He's part of our ongoing search for great, emerging international talent," said Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of 20th Century Fox of Bekmambetov.
Night Watch is the highest-grossing Russian film of all time, outpacing all competing foreign studio fare in its home country over the summer. Produced for only $4 million, the supernatural actioner has thus far managed to haul in around $13 million since its July 8th release. By comparison, that's a number equal to what the final "Lord of the Rings" grossed over two month time frame there.
Night Watch was the first part of a trilogy based upon the novels of Sergei Lukyanenko, following what happens after a 1,000 year truce between good and evil is broken on the streets of Moscow. Like the "Highlander" or Japanese "X" series, it follows the open warfare between ancient opposing supernatural forces in search of the One -- a child who can choose to side either with good or evil, as it spills out of antiquity into the present day.
Bekmambetov is currently shooting the final sequences of Day Watch in Russia, and Fox Searchlight topper Peter Rice confirmed that an agreement in principle had been reached under which Night Watch and Day Watch would both be released as foreign-lingo films under the Searchlight banner, starting as soon as next summer.