Power Of The Dark Crystal — sequel to Jim Henson/Frank Oz 1982 project — will be made in stereoscopic 3D.

Queensland-based directors Michael and Peter Spierig are to next make the fantasy film Power Of The Dark Crystal, a sequel to The Dark Crystal, produced nearly 20 years by the Jim Henson Company.

The news comes four months after the second film from the twin brothers, the vampire thriller Daybreakers, was launched in the US and went on to make $30m there and $50m worldwide.

“We feel a tremendous amount of responsibility in telling this story with the same meticulous care that Jim Henson and Frank Oz gave the 1982 original,” said Michael Spierig in a statement issued today.

The screenplay, about a girl made of fire who steals a shard of a legendary crystal in the hope of reigniting the dying sun, has been written by Craig Pearce (Moulin Rouge) and is based on an original script by Annette Duffy and the writer of the original film, David Odell.

Power of the Dark Crystal will be produced by Ambience Entertainment, the production arm of Australian company Omnilab Media, which is providing much of the finance.

The producers have not been named but Omnilab managing director Christopher Mapp and his colleagues Matthew Street and David Whealy are executive producers, as is Peter D Graves (Terminator Salvation) from Cinemarket Films.

The Jim Henson Company is acting as an executive producer too, in particular Brian Henson, Jason Lust and chief executive Lisa Henson, who described the original film as “one of the most enduringly popular titles in the Henson library.”

The sequel will be made in stereoscopic 3D and will use physical techniques such as puppetry and animatronics, as well as motion capture and computer effects.

Another Omilab subsidiary, Iloura, will take the lead on the film’s visual effects requirements and the conceptual designer on the original film, Brian Froud, is on board.

An unprecedented number of big budget Australian films are in production or waiting in the wings due to the 2007 introduction of the producer offset, a 40% rebate on Australian expenditure.

The ambition and resources of Omnilab Media is also a factor in a number of them.