BREAKING: Sony Pictures has made a deal with Alcon Entertainment for overseas distribution rights to the Blade Runner sequel that Denis Villenueve will direct. The Big Short’s Ryan Gosling stars alongside Harrison Ford, who’s returning to one of his most iconic roles, as Richard Deckard. Warner Bros has North American distribution rights through its output agreement with Alcon’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, and Sony has the rest of the world. Production begins in July.

Ryan Gosling Blade Runner 2-shotThis is a big deal for Tom Rothman, who, when he took the reins of Sony Entertainment, immediately set to work on overhauling the overseas operation of the studio to bring it line with powerhouses like Warner Bros and Fox, where Rothman spent so many years. Most of the revenue stream on pictures like this comes from overseas, and this is one of the beach head projects he targets. He has stalked Alcon and Scott (who’s godfathering his seminal film) like a blade runner pursuing a runaway replicant. That pursuit got more aggressive once the film drew Villenueve, who’s coming off Sicario, and when Gosling committed to star with Ford. Original cowriter Hampton Fancher and Michael Green wrote the script.

Blade Runner: The Final CutCynthia Sikes Yorkin will produce along with Johnson and Kosove. Bud Yorkin will receive producer credit. Alcon bought the rights to the 1982 film from the Yorkins, in 2011.

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Scott will be executive producer, along with Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, and Bill Carraro.