Cristal Pictures has acquired an original pitch entitled The Steward from John Wick screenwriter Derek Kolstad. Cristal, of course, is fully backed by China’s film finance/production/distribution entity East Light Media. The company will fully finance and produce what is planned as a first installment of a potential franchise with worldwide theatrical appeal, including in China.

Kolstad is writing the screenplay for the action-thriller featuring an original central character he created. The pitch was brought into Cristal by EVP Production Nick D’Angelo and was said to have been acquired in an aggressive pre-emptive bid.

Kolstad, creator of the hugely successful John Wick franchise and screenwriter of John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2, is also writing the screenplay for the third installment, John Wick: Chapter 3, for Lionsgate. To date, the franchise has grossed more than $250 million at the worldwide box office.

Cristal president Scott Einbinder noted that “The Steward, which is driven by a charismatic lead, possesses the kind of proven genre appeal that has resonated in both the domestic and worldwide markets.”

Cristal has numerous upcoming projects in various stages of development including the action-comedy Hitman’s Bodyguard, which Cristal co-financed and co-produced with Millennium Films. The Lionsgate release stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek and is due in theaters August 18. Additionally, Cristal recently purchased the spec script Twin Blades, an actioner  in development with Lauren Shuler Donner (Logan, X-Men, Deadpool) producing.

Kolstad is repped by APA, Circle of Confusion and Behr Abramson Levy.