EXCLUSIVE: When he completes Sunday’s Oscar hosting stint, Seth MacFarlane will get down to business about where to place his next film, one that is shaping up to be the hot movie project in town. I’m hearing that Universal Pictures has the inside track to acquire A Million Ways To Die In The West, the live action comedy he’ll begin shooting this spring that is a kindred spirit to Blazing Saddles. Several studios are chasing the project, which so far stars MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron.
MacFarlane is once again teamed in this venture with Media Rights Capital, which finally rode in a big winner when it backed MacFarlane’s last film, Ted, the foul mouthed stuffed bear comedy that has now grossed over $536 million worldwide and is out-grossing Skyfall in Japan. MacFarlane wrote the script with Ted and Family Guy cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, and Scott Stuber and Jason Clark are producing. They were producers on Ted with MacFarlane and John Jacobs. You can see he is a loyal guy, and so why wouldn’t he go back to Universal when the result was so good last time around.
Considering how often MacFarlane’s series Family Guy was on the rocks, and how long it has taken to crack the big screen with a Family Guy movie at Fox, I have to give a tip of the hat to MacFarlane. With a Ted sequel in the works, and this Western, MacFarlane takes the Oscar stage at a time when he is a bankable feature commodity, and not just a TV guy moonlighting as Oscar host as we’ve seen in the past from the likes of Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Ellen Degeneres.