EXCLUSIVE: In a fast auction that pitted three studios, New Line Cinema has emerged with an untitled package for an action comedy vehicle for Dwayne Johnson that Will Gluck will direct and Dave Callaham will write. The picture will be a co-production between FlynnPictureCo., Olive Bridge Entertainment and Seven Bucks Productions. Beau Flynn and Gluck will produce as will Johnson through his Seven Bucks banner.
Deal is high-six against seven figures for Callaham, who most recently scripted Zombieland 2 for Sony. They are keeping the logline under wraps, but I’m told it’s something of a throwback to those mismatched buddy action comedies like Lethal Weapon, Midnight Run and 48 Hours. This will follow a fast track and they have high hopes it will launch a new franchise built around a guy who is only half-jokingly referred as franchise Viagra for the way he has helped reinvigorate film franchises like The Fast And The Furious.
It’s a coup for New Line, whose biggest hit of the year was San Andreas (it was also Warner Bros’ big hit of 2015), which Johnson starred in and Flynn produced. The film grossed $474 million worldwide. Johnson and Flynn are right now working at New Line on Rampage, the film that Johnson will star in after he shoots the Seth Gordon-directed Baywatch for Paramount. Flynn is also producing that film, which stars Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario.
Gluck and his Olive Bridge are separately working on the live action/animation hybrid pic Peter Rabbit, in tandem with Animal Logic for Columbia Pictures. Callaham also scripted Jackpot, the Focus remake of the Norwegian action comedy that will be directed by Joseph Kosinski, with Gluck producing with Jodi Hildebrand. Callaham is best known for hatching The Expendables franchise and also the original idea for Legendary’s Godzilla reboot.
Hildebrand will executive produce for Olive Bridge. Scott Sheldon will oversee for FlynnPictureCo. and Hiram Garcia for Seven Bucks. Richard Brener, Walter Hamada and David Neustadter are shepherding for New Line. Johnson’s repped by WME, The Garcia Companies, and Gang, Tyre, while Callaham is repped by UTA, Kaplan/Perrone and Hansen, Jacobson.