Joe Dante will direct the $50m sci-fi thriller O2, the first of three projects set up by Jeanette Buerling’s Magnet Media Group and effects house Prime Focus.

The film will shoot in Germany in association with Magnet’s recently launched German production arm Magnet Media Productions GmbH Cologne.

O2 is also the first film new Magnet president of production Michele Ohayon will produce with Buerling (pictured) and Magnet is fully financing the project, which is out to casting and scheduled to shoot in Germany and the UK in autumn 2012.

Ronnie Christensen wrote the script about a young scientist in the year 2150 who investigates her father’s disappearance.

“It’s rare, at least for me, that you see a blockbuster-size sci-fi project with a grown-up script,” Dante said. “When Michele sent it to me I sparked to it immediately. There’s plenty of eye candy and excitement, but the characters are credibly grounded in reality, which is the key to making these things work.”