The director had been reported as interested in the project back in March, but it wasn't a done deal at the time. Now, though, he is officially on board and the producers will be hoping that – unlike Robopocalypse, which has still yet to reactivate – he will stay that way.
Written by Ernie Cline, the screenwriter behind Fanboys (2009), Ready Player One follows teenager Wade Watts who likes to escape his dreary, dangerous real world by logging into Oasis, a globally networked virtual utopia where users lead idyllic alternate lives.
When the game's eccentric, Steve Jobs style billionaire creator dies, he offers up his fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Wade is pitted against powerful corporate foes and ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the Oasis and the real world, to reach the riches first.
The script started life with Cline and Eric Eason (A Better Life) before Cline's friend Zak Penn (The Avengers) was hired by Warner Bros to take a fresh pass on boiling down the sprawling tale, laden with references to classic video games, comics, movies and other pop cultural items. Spielberg's cache will no doubt be a big boost as the studio starts the thorny mission to convince rights holders from other companies to let their iconic trademarks and characters appear.
Bridge Of Spies, meanwhile, will be out in the UK on 27 November, with The BFG following on 22 July.