(movies.ign.com, Nov. 21 2008, Orlando Parfitt)
Universal wants the Bourne series to become their answer to the James Bond franchise, according to Variety.
They report that the studio has signed a deal with the estate of Bourne author Robert Ludlum (who died in 2001) that gives them exclusive rights to the character and first look at other Ludlum novels.
The deal smooths the road for further installments in the lucrative series, which has grossed the studio over $1 billion worldwide.
Jeffrey Weiner, who manages all the output based on the late author’s work, said: “Universal has done such an excellent job with the first three films that they deserve the opportunity to keep Jason Bourne at the studio forever.”
Initially intended to be a trilogy, there is now a fourth Bourne film in development. Matt Damon is reprising his role as the super-skilled former spy, whilst Paul Greengrass will again direct. The film will hit screens in summer 2010.
The contract also gives Universal first dibs on other non-Bourne Ludlum works, with over 25 of the author’s novels yet to be made into films. The studio themselves are currently developing thriller The Sigma Protocol, but they lost out on The Materese Circle, which went to MGM.