A month ago, when Disney pulled up stakes and exited the Narnia business, the obvious assumption was that the series would end up at Fox. The studio has a deal with Narnia production company Walden Media, after all, and consequently had first-refusal rights. And since Fox could really use a dependable family franchise, the studio has indeed taken the (jail)bait and picked up Narnia movie number three, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, for financing and distribution.

Fox2000 is handling in-house development and production duties, and hopes to shoot at the end of summer for a 2010 release. Most of the cast and crew will likely be retained, including director Michael Apted, though THR notes a new writer may be hired.

Look at it this way: now Fox gets their family franchise, and they don’t have to muck up something you actually like to do it. Everybody wins.