DreamWorks principal Steven Spielberg, a lifelong fan of the fictional journalist and adventurer, will serve as a producer; he is not expected to direct. The rights are held by Brussels-based Herge Studios.
Spielberg first bought an option to film the character just before Tintin creator Georges Remi - known as Herge - died in 1983. At one point, an agreement was in the cards, but Remi then read in the contract that Spielberg might not direct the films personally and refused to sign on the dotted line.
Herge Studios chief Nick Rodwell said he did not know if the film would be live-action, traditional animation or CGI, nor was it clear which of the 23 Tintin books would be chosen for a first movie.
"With Harry Potter, everyone knows that there will be seven films. We have 23 scripts. If the first one works, we'll make another," said Rodwell, the husband of Herge's widow Fanny, the holder of the universal rights for the Tintin estate.
"There will be a worldwide promotion, and we will emerge from the Belgian, French and Swiss ghetto to reach for China and the US," Rodwell said. "It will be a big Hollywood production, nearer the $US100 million mark than the $US20 million, but that's not my business."
Two live-action Tintin movies were filmed in the 1960s, and three animations, but all were low-key releases. Two animated television series have been made, both of which were adaptations of the comic strips rather than original stories. Last year, London's Young Vic theater company ran a musical version of Tintin in Tibet.
The decision by DreamWorks comes during a year of Tintin festivities in Europe to celebrate what would have been Herge's centenary. Traveling the world fighting crime and venturing to the moon a full decade before Neil Armstrong, the comic-strip boy hero's books involve masterly plots, subtle themes and depth of characterization.
image:reuters:GOSH...Steven Spielberg's production company, DreamWorks, is set to produce a big screen, live action version of the classic comic series TINTIN.
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