Paramount deal signals change in "Weather"

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Escape Artists’ "The Weather Man”, which Gore “The Ring” Verbinski will direct Nicolas Cage in. The film is scheduled to start lensing Feb. 17 in Chicago. The project comes to Paramount from Columbia Pictures where Escape Artists has a first-look deal. Sources said that Escape Artists and Columbia weren’t able to agree on a budget for "Weather Man," said to be in the $20 million-$30 million range, or backend deals for Verbinski and Cage. Penned by Steve Conrad, "Weather Man" is described as being in the vein of "About Schmidt" and "American Beauty." It’s about a divorced Chicago weatherman who is up for a new job on a network morning show in New York. As he is preparing to leave for the Big Apple, he must make peace with his ex-wife and kids.