George Romero's Land of the Dead: According to Variety, Universal has acquired most of the distribution rights to George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead," a zombie thriller that's both penned and helmed by George A. Romero.

"Land" will begin production October 11th in Toronto, with casting already underway.

Two months ago, Atmosphere Entertainment MM announced that "Land of the Dead" would be the first film to launch a new series of zombie films, marking Romero's return to the genre he created.

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In 1968 Romero made Night of the Living Dead with less than a $100,000 budget; the "Land of the Dead" budget will be $15 million, according to Canton.

"Night" was followed by Dawn of the DeadM in 1978 and Day of the Dead in 1985. Canton said that like all of Romero's previous "Dead" pics, " 'Land of the Dead' will have an undertone of the social and political ethos of the times."

Universal has tipped its hat to Romero's legacy twice this year, releasing Zach Snyder's remake of Romero's Dawn of the Dead to a $59 million domestic gross; U's Edgar Wright helmed zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead -- released through U's Rogue Pictures label, part of U's Focus Features -- opens Friday in 607 theaters nationwide.

Story of "Land of the Dead" is set in the modern world. The living inhabit a walled-in city, protected from the walking dead that populate the wasteland beyond.

Brian B.