The pre-production for the film has already started and it will have a $70 million budget. It plans to cast its eight leading roles in the next few weeks. The company is hoping to begin production in May on its lot in Sofia, Bulgaria, for a March 2014 release date. The plan is to beat Paramount and MGM's Hercules project, directed by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson. That movie will be out on August 8, 2014.
Millennium has been working on the film since 2007. The script by Sean Hood and Hanna Weg is a revisionist version of the tale.
Harlin said: "It's not a comic book, cartoony fantasy thing. It's closer to Gladiator than flying horses. I think these are very different kinds of movies in their approach to this legendary character. Obviously, Hercules has been portrayed in many different films, such as the Disney animated movie. I wish them luck. Ancient Greek mythology is an endless source of good stories ... Let's see both movies be successful."
Les Weldon and Danny Lerner are producing, with Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson and John Thompson as executive producers.
Lerner, also Millennium's chairman, added: "Our international independent distribution partners have made it clear to us that they very much want Hercules. Now that we have a strong script, a very talented director and the prospect of an exciting cast, we're ready to move forward with the project."
Harlin is known for his films Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and Cutthroat Island. He also directed horror films like The Covenant and Exorcist: The Beginning, as well as TV episodes of Burn Notice and Covert Affairs. His next film is a horror film called The Dyaltov Pass Incident, set in Siberia. This will be his return to big-budget filmmaking.
Harlin said: "I'm so excited and feel very blessed. I've been working really hard, and it's starting to pay off."
This isn't the first time the company has had a similar film to another major studio. On March 22, they will release the film Olympus Has Fallen, which stars Gerard Butler. This is similar to Sony's White House Down, which stars Channing Tatum on June 28.