According to a Hollywood Reporter story, the Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal with Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz' Walden Media to co-finance and distribute The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Budgeted at more than $100 million, according to sources, the film is scheduled to begin shooting in the summer, with Shrek director Andrew Adamson at the helm. The film, the first installment of Walden's "Chronicles of Narnia" franchise based on the series of children's fantasy books by C.S. Lewis, will be released at Christmas 2005 by Walt Disney Pictures.

Under the deal, which includes worldwide distribution rights, merchandising and all ancillary rights, Disney retains the option to release future films in the series, Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said.

Here are a few more stories on the topic:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Disney Travels to Narnia
Disney, Walden team up for "Narnia" movie
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