Romancing the Stone gathers no moss

It was one of those rare films that brought together a handful of emerging artists and launched them all into A-list careers (as well as a successful sequel). And now Romancing the Stone is back, with a third installment in development at 20th Century Fox, according to Industry trade reports Monday.

Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito starred in the original, which was directed by Robert Zemeckis and pulled in $75 million at the box office, a huge sum back in 1985 when only the rare hit broke the magical $100 million mark (and before budgets had soared to their current, bloated levels). The 1986 follow-up, Jewel of the Nile, grossed $65 million.

The film ignited Douglas' bankability, which led to hits like Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct, and, even 13 years after Romancing, he's still scoring with The Game, which recently opened to record-breaking box office. Zemeckis followed Romancing with Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump, while Turner evolved into a sultry, gravel-voiced leading lady, and DeVito rode the coattails of Romancing, his first post-Taxi hit, to a string of 25 movies he has produced, directed or starred in (and sometimes all of those).

Details are scant on the coming sequel, and there is no word whether any of those stars will again be involved, but Zemeckis is definitely out. Monday's speculation mainly turned to Douglas, and the Hollywood Reporter quoted sources close to the actor as saying he was interested in appearing in the film.

No word either on the direction the story will take. In the original adventure-comedy, Turner plays a romance novelist who joins up with an adventurer (Douglas) to rescue her kidnapped sister from Colombian terrorists. The sequel reteamed the actors in a Middle Eastern setting, but, without Zemeckis, it lacked the creative punch of Romancing.

As the film is just now in development, it is unlikely to be coming to a theater near you before Christmas '98.

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