At this time last summer, geeks were thrumming with excitement over Tron: Legacy and wishing it was a summer movie because it looked so cool…

It’s now summer 2011, and people are looking a little differently at Joseph Kosinski. But hey, he can take it.  Though Disney dropped Oblivion from their roster, Universal immediately picked it up.    Rumors swirled that Tom Cruise was interested, and now Deadline reports that he’s signed onto the $100 million adaptation of Kosinski’s graphic novel.

Oblivion takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where humanity lives in the less polluted clouds due to the earth’s surface being uninhabitable.  Cruise plays a lonely soldier stationed on Earth, stuck repairing patrol drones, and fending off hostile alien attacks.   But then a beautiful woman crash lands on the surface, and their experience forces him to reconsider his world view.

If I wanted to be glib (joke not intended), I’d say it sounds like Enemy Mine meets Wall E .  I haven’t read the graphic novel, though the artwork (typical of Radical Publishing) was beautiful.

Two things surprise me about this.   First, that Disney dropped Oblivion not because of Tron: Legacy‘s lukewarm reception,  but because they couldn’t make it family friendly.    Second, that Universal is balking at opening the purse strings on so many projects (including The Dark Tower, which at least has some name recognition behind it) but will spend $100 million on this.  I know that in the grand scheme of budgets, $100 million isn’t that much, but it’s more than I’d risk on Kosinski again.  But then, I guess this is why I’m not a studio executive.