Robert Zemeckis Lands First-Look Deal at Universal

The “Back to the Future” director's pact at Universal won't be as rich as his old deal at Disney, but it returns him to a studio

Robert Zemeckis, the director who landed in producer jail after his "Mars Needs Moms" flopped in a big way, has landed on his feet: He has entered a two-year first-look production deal at Universal Studios.

The deal is for Zemeckis and his company, ImageMovers.

It won't be nearly as fancy as his deal at Disney, which included a facility in Marin County. Disney shut down the facility in 2010.

But Zemeckis has his share of hits and has a reputation for technological innovation. 

He wrote and directed "Back to the Future" — and its unfortunate sequels. And he directed the innovative "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" in 1985 and "Forrest Gump" in 1994.

His more recent work hasn't matched that standard. The 2007 "Beowulf" had a budget estimated at $150 million and grossed $191 million. And the 2011 "Mars Needs Moms," made for an estimated $150 million, grossed a shabby $34.4 million worthwhile.

In addition to the first-look deal, he has a number of projects in the works, and in talks to direct Warner Bros. and Mandeville Entertainment's "Here There Be Monsters."