EXCLUSIVE: WWE Studios and Lionsgate urban label Codeblack Films have set a deal to co-produce and co-finance a slate of films, and they already have their first pic in the pipeline. That’s the action thriller Brother’s Blood, which Trey Songz has come aboard to topline with John Pogue directing a script co-written by Karl Gajdusek (Oblivion), Michael Finch (Hitman: Agent 47) and Charles Murray (Sons Of Anarchy).
The tie-up expands WWE Studios’ longtime relationship with Lionsgate who have done several films together featuring top WWE wrestling talent in leading roles, including recently 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown starring Dean Ambrose, Vendetta toplined by Big Show and Dean Cain, The Condemned 2 with Randy Orton, and See No Evil 2 starring Kane.
As part of the new deal that expands that relationship, Codeblack and WWE will collaborate on marketing, with WWE leveraging its popular TV shows including Monday Night Raw and SmackDown as well as digital, social media and WWE Network. Codeblack will distribute.
Brother’s Blood is set on the mean streets of a city in decay, where a recently released convict begins to take murderous revenge against his childhood friends, whom he believes let him take the fall for a crime they collectively committed. As the bodies start piling up, one of the friends (Songz), now a cop, will stop at nothing to put an end to the rampage and right the wrongs of their violent past.
Production is now set to start in January in New Orleans, with WWE Studios president Michael Luisi producing.
“We look forward to working with Codeblack and expanding our tremendous relationship with Lionsgate,” said Luisi. “John Pogue and Trey Songz are exceptionally talented artists and the ideal creative team to shepherd our first co-production with Codeblack.”
Added Codeblack Films president Jeff Clanagan: “We are excited to collaborate with WWE Studios on the production of this slate. Our stellar cast and the strategic alignment of our brands and marketing expertise set a strong foundation for success.”
Codeblack Films’ EVP and GM Quincy Newell crafted the deal with Luisi, with WWE Studios’ Bradley Buchanan and Lionsgate EVP Business & Legal Affairs Wendy Jaffe handling negotiations.
Grammy-nominated R&B singer-songwriter Songz also co-starred in Lionsgate’s 2013 pic Baggage Claim as well as Texas Chainsaw 3D. He is repped by ICM Partners, KWL Management and attorney Paul Rothenberg. Pogue, Gajdusek and Finch are repped by Verve.