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Lembeck will direct 'Santa Clause 3'

LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) -- Michael Lembeck has signed to direct Tim Allen in "The Santa Clause 3," Daily Variety reported Wednesday.

Lembeck directed "The Santa Clause 2," the 2002 sequel to Allen's 1994 breakout movie hit, "The Santa Clause." Variety said the signing of Lembeck clears the way for shooting on the new picture to begin November, with plans calling for The Walt Disney Co. to release the movie during the 2006 holiday season.

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Ed Decter and John Strauss -- who wrote "The Santa Clause 2" -- have also written the third picture in the series. Variety said the storyline has Santa Claus battling with Jack Frost for control over Christmas.

"The Santa Clause" grossed $145 million at the U.S. box office, and "The Santa Clause 2" took in $139 million.

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