Jim Carrey and Ron Howard agree to bring "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" into the real world

Jim Carrey will steal the show in a live-action version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” directed by Ron Howard. Universal bought the rights to the children’s book from Dr. Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, after a high-profile bidding war involving such filmmakers as Tom Shadyac (“Liar Liar”), John Hughes, and the Farrelly brothers. Howard, who has a production deal with Universal, impressed Geisel with his take on the tale, but the studio’s deal is void if he ever decides not to direct.

Universal paid all the Who-bucks in Whoville for the book rights. The studio reportedly will pay Geisel almost $5 million for initial rights, as well as 4% of the first-dollar gross and almost 50% of the merchandising and soundtrack takes. But Universal feels it has a hit; the film has been put on the production fast track with a planned release for Christmas, 1999.