Sony Pictures is skipping over ”The Lost Symbol” and heading into an “Inferno,” announcing Tuesday that the 2013 Dan Brown novel will be its next Robert Langdon movie.
The studio has hired writer David Koepp, who penned the 2009 hit “Angels & Demons” based on Brown’s novel of the same name, and aims to release the movie in December 2015. Tom Hanks is attached to return in the Langdon role; no director has been announced.
Released in May, the “Inferno” novel centers on Langdon and his partner Sienna, who are off on an adventure in Florence, Italy, sparked by a clue on a modified rendition of Botticelli’s “Map of Hell.” The book, the fourth in the Langdon series, quickly became a bestseller upon its release.
Based on Brown’s smash “The Da Vinci Code,” the first Langdon movie, in 2006, took in $758 million around the world. The second film, “Angels & Demons,” continued his globe-hopping clue-solving and did well at the box office, though also showed a drop-off, tallying $486 million worldwide.
The dating of “Inferno” means Sony is skipping over the third Langdon book, 2009’s “The Lost Symbol,” which has been in development for several years. Danny Strong (“Recount”) has been among the writers who have worked on the script. Ron Howard parted ways with the franchise after directing the first two films.
It’s rare but not unheard of for a film adaptation to skip over a book in a series or go out of order; in fact, “Angels & Demons” was published three years before “Da Vinci.”
Sony has been looking to shore up its franchises in the years ahead, announcing a pair of new “Amazing Spider-Man” movies that will take the franchise to four total films by 2018.