LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Steven Spielberg has dinosaurs back on the brain lately.
In addition to the fall launch of his executive-produced television series "Terra Nova" on Fox, Spielberg has been meeting with screenwriter Mark Protosevich to kick around ideas for a reboot of the "Jurassic Park" franchise.
Several years ago, the director worked with Protosevich on a potential remake of Chan-wook Park's "Oldboy," which would have starred Will Smith. That film ran into rights problems and didn't come to fruition, but Spielberg, who directed the first two Jurassic Park films and was an executive producer on the third, has since met twice with Protosevich to fashion a story for a potential fourth film.
Both Universal, which released the trilogy, and Spielberg's camp stress that no one has been engaged to write a script and that the discussions have been purely exploratory. But the idea is kind of a no-brainer.
The franchise, born of the late Michael Crichton's 1990 novel, has been in stuck in amber since 2001, when Joe Johnston directed "Jurassic Park III" from a script by Peter Buchman, Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne. That last entry signaled the series' fading fortunes, as it grossed just $369 million worldwide -- "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" grossed $915 million and $619 million, respectively.
Spielberg's original 1993 film adaptation, which came on the heels of James Cameron's groundbreaking "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," greatly advanced CGI technology in its depiction of colossal dinosaurs re-animated in the modern day. With the recent rebirth of 3D and soaring improvements in digital design marshaled by everyone from Cameron to Pixar, "Jurassic Park" is ripe for evolution into a 21st century phenomenon.
And Universal could use the revived sci-fi tentpole. The "Fast and the Furious" franchise remains healthy, but "The Mummy" has lost momentum, the "Bourne" series lost star Matt Damon (a reboot with Jeremy Renner is in the works), and "The Hulk," "Van Helsing," "The Wolfman" and "Land of the Lost" never caught fire. "Battleship," a costly adaptation of the board game, remains a gamble for summer 2012 but could spark a new alien-related franchise.
Stampeding dinosaurs endangering humans, fighting each other and smashing things never gets old, and Cameron showed how far an ambitious filmmaker can push an integrated, immersive 3D world with "Avatar." A new Spielberg-produced Jurassic Park that takes full advantage of those tools could be (pre)historic.
Protosevich recently had a story credit on Marvel Studios' "Thor," and he is working on an adaptation of the Ape Entertainment comic "Freakshow," which he would also direct. He co-wrote the screenplay for "I Am Legend" and wrote both "The Cell" and "Poseidon."
Spielberg is finishing up "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" and "War Horse," both scheduled for holiday releases. He next plans to direct "Lincoln."