When Disney pulled the plug on its partnership with Walden Media in late 2008, it seemed that the future of the Chronicles of Narnia franchise lay in doubt. It wasn't long, though, before other studios began lining up to take Disney's place. Fox 2000 was always at the fore of these negotiations, and, in the end, their tenacity won out. Walden has officially partnered with Fox to continue work on the series, starting with the third film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Last Wednesday it was reported that Fox would co-finance the third Narnia film with Walden, ensuring that the franchise is safe once again—for now. The budget and the script have not officially been agreed upon, but Walden and Fox express a desire to begin filming this summer, for a Christmas 2010 release. The budget is projected to be somewhere around the $140 million mark—considerably less than Prince Caspian's $215 million.

The script, meanwhile, will likely be penned by Richard LaGravenese, most recently known for P.S. I Love You and Freedom Writers, and also celebrated movies The Fisher King and A Little Princess.

Building back the franchise after the relatively disappointing box office fare of Caspian and the bad press from the Disney split will be tough, and The Hollywood Reporternotes that the source material will not make things any easier, as it "lacks a clear protagonist." Variety, however, says that Dawn Treader is both more commercial and more family-friendly than Caspian, both of which should work to the movie's advantage.

All of the stars, as well as director Michael Apted (Amazing Grace), are expected to stay in place.

In other movie news:

Scott Derrickson to direct Hyperion Cantos (Variety)
Day the Earth Stood Still director turns to Dan Simmons novels

Danny Boyle pledges to send funds back to India slums (Times Online)
Says a "significant" chunk of Slumdog earnings will return to Mumbai

Lawrence to direct futuristic re-telling of Samson and Delilah (Variety)
Director of TV's Kings now turns to Samson

Screen Actors Guild honors Slumdog Millionaire's ensemble cast (MCN)
Also awards Streep, Penn, Ledger, and Winslet

Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell join cast of Tintin (Variety)
Defiance co-stars on board for Spielberg/Jackson-directed trilogy

Joe Carnahan developing remake of The A-Team (Hollywood Reporter)
Director of Smokin' Aces; Ridley and Tony Scott producing

Spike Lee announces James Brown biopic (MTV)
Wesley Snipes to star, with Brown's own singing voice dubbed over

Lara Croft returns to the big screen (Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount rebooting the franchise, without Angelina Jolie

Sylvester Stallone says he will play Rambo again (Extra)
Only hold-up is decision to shoot in America or in foreign country

Pirates of the Caribbean director helming animated film Rango (Variety)
Voice talents include Johnny Depp, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina

Slumdog screenwriter penning a romantic comedy (Hollywood Reporter)
Oscar-nominated Simon Beaufoy writing Leap Year, to star Amy Adams

A third Charlie's Angels film in the works? (E! Online)
Drew Barrymore says it's "rising to the top"

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