DINOTOPIA is coming to ABC

The ABC network, which is owned by The Walt Disney Co., has ordered asix-hour miniseries based on the first two installments of James Gurney'sfantasy book series, DINOTOPIA which is about a world in which humans andhighly-evolved dinosaurs live together in harmony. With the exception ofStephen King projects THE SHINING and STORM OF THE CENTURY, DINOTOPIA marksABC's biggest miniseries time commitment since 1988's 30-hour WAR ANDREMEMBRANCE which starred Robert Mitchum. Some sources estimate the cost at$50 million, but ABC will not comment on the budget. The project willdepend on a mix of computer-generated effects and animatronics to bringlife to the multiple breeds of dinosaurs featured in Gurney's books.Shooting is expected to take place in Australia, New Zealand, andMongolia's Gobi desert. Hallmark has purchased exclusive TV, motionpicture, theatrical and home video rights to the DINOTOPIA series. SonyImageworks had previously held the rights to the franchise. The first twoinstallments of the book series have already sold over two million copiesin 30 countries. HarperCollins will publish the third book in the series inOctober. Recently, the books had been involved in controversy because ofseveral similarities between them and STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOMMENACE, although formal charges have not been made. Lucasfilm did do somedevelopment work for an earlier, unrealized DINOTOPIA film.