Looks like the clock has run out on “24.” (Sorry.) Earlier this year, everything looked good to go on the long-gestating big screen outing for the hit TV show. Kiefer Sutherland hinted that the movie would be a direct continuation of the show, set six months after the series ended, with everything gearing up to shoot next month, once the actor was done with his work on his latest Fox show “Touch.” But it looks like scheduling just couldn’t be worked out.
Deadline reports that both Fox and Sutherland were concerned about the timetable for the movie, and worried that they wouldn’t be able to get it in the can before the actor was due back on the set of “Touch.” The decision was a late one, only coming down recently, as Antoine Fuqua was apparently in talks to direct. But there’s more. The site reveals that the script, written by Billy Ray and touched up by Mark Bomback, had a story that would spread over a “three-picture arc.” But for now, the movie is headed to the backburner, with no word yet on if they’ll try to make it during Sutherland’s next break from his show (which would be around the same time next year, we presume). Update: Deadline now says the salary and budget issues put the film on hold. Fox wanted the movie for $30 million, but the filmmakers were looking at something closer to $45 or $60 million. Sutherland was apparently also not too thrilled with a $1 million payday (he was asking for $3-5 million), though his backend deal would’ve netted him some serious coin.
This is all pretty ironic coming from Fox, who previously have shown little regard for cramming productions into tight time frames when they want to (“X-Men: First Class” was shot and released in a span of about ten months; “The Wolverine” will take about a year from start to finish before it’s released next year). But perhaps they are learning from past mistakes, and clearly, this is a franchise they adore and want to do right. Deadline questions whether they will keep the movie in development, but our hunch is that they will — it’s a beloved series, they’ll want to keep Sutherland happy (especially if “Touch” is a hit) and there are undoubtedly countless folks who want more Jack Bauer. But he won’t be saving the world at the multiplex any time soon.