Spielberg postpones expensive "Robopocalypse"

LOS ANGELES Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:40pm IST

Director Steven Spielberg speaks at The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's (HFPA) annual luncheon to announce financial grants to film schools and non-profit organizations at the Beverly Hills hotel in Beverly Hills, California August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

Director Steven Spielberg speaks at The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's (HFPA) annual luncheon to announce financial grants to film schools and non-profit organizations at the Beverly Hills hotel in Beverly Hills, California August 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Files

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks studio has indefinitely postponed "Robopocalypse," the director's next film, distributor Walt Disney said in a statement on Wednesday.

Disney did not give a reason for the delay, but a source with knowledge of the film said the director was dissatisfied with the script and production budget estimates.

The science-fiction movie was set to begin production this spring and be released in April 2014. No new date was announced.

"Robopocalypse" is based on Daniel H. Wilson's futuristic novel about a war between humans and robots intent on destroying them.

"It's about the consequences of creating technologies that make our lives easier, and what happens when that technology becomes smarter than we are," Spielberg told his "War Horse" star Tom Hiddleston in an interview in early 2012 for Time Out Film.

The script, which is being written by "The Cabin in the Woods" writer and director Drew Goddard, wasn't "landing where Steven wanted it," according to the source.

Disney (DIS.N) studio spokesman Paul Roeder had no comment.

The film was scheduled to star Anne Hathaway and Chris Hemsworth, according to the movie reference site imdb.com.

DreamWorks, a private company half owned by Indian conglomerate Reliance Group, would finance the film with News Corp's (NWSA.O) Fox studio, which had co-financed Spielberg's 2002 futuristic film "Minority Report."

Disney is paid a percentage of a film's revenues to distribute DreamWorks' films domestically. It counts on DreamWorks' movies to reduce its own studio costs while providing it with high profile films.

Estimates for "Robopocalypse" were coming in around $160 million, higher than Spielberg wanted, said the source.

Spielberg, whose most recent film, "Lincoln," has domestic ticket sales of more than $200 million, is contemplating other unannounced projects while he waits for the script.

(Reporting By Ronald Grover, editing by Elaine Lies)

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