Millennium Films has acquired the rights to create a series of films based on Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian property.  Paradox Entertainment, which holds the rights to Howard's characters, made the deal with Millennium after earlier reported negotiations with New Line Cinema (see 'Conan Optioned by New Line') broke down.  According to Variety, Paradox, having endured seven years with the Conan property in development at Warner Bros., included 'strict progress-to-production provisions' into its agreement with Millennium.  Millennium plans to begin production on what it hopes is the first in a series of Conan films next spring. 


Warner Bros. had commissioned a number of scripts for a potential Conan movie from a number of Hollywood heavyweights including John Milius, Robert Rodriguez and the Wachowski's.  Millennium is not interested in picking up any of those, promising instead that its new Conan film will be more faithful to Robert E. Howard's original than were the Schwarzenegger films or any of the scripts that came out of the project's seven years in developmental hell at Warner Bros.


With the current vogue for fantasy in Tinseltown Paradox was able to find several suitors for the Conan property in spite of a steep asking price -- reportedly a million dollars for a one-year option with one-year renewals going for $1 million a piece as well.  Millennium Films, which produced 16 Blocks and The Black Dahlia and is currently working on Righteous Kill, King of California, and John Rambo, hopes to create a potent franchise built around Robert E. Howard's battling barbarian.


A Conan movie would be good news for pop culture retailers given the amount of licensed Conan merchandise available including comic books and graphic novels from Dark Horse, a CCG from Comic Images, a board game from Nexus Editrice as well as new Conan video games for the X-Box 360 and Playstation