A big series project is about to hit the markeplace — an hourlong action comedy based on the blockbuster movie franchise Rush Hour. I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has closed deals for the project, which will be co-written/executive produced by one of studio’s top showrunners, Bill Lawrence. The movie franchise’s director Brett Ratner and producer Arthur Sarkissian will serve as executive producers.
Written by Cougar Town co-creator Lawrence and the series’ executive producer/showrunner Blake McCormick, Rush Hour is expected to stay close to the premise of the original movie, with a stoic, by-the-book Hong Kong police officer, played in the features by Jackie Chan, assigned to a case in Los Angeles, where he’s forced to work with a cocky black LAPD officer, originally played by Chris Tucker, who has no interest in a partner. WBTV declined comment.
Produced by Warner Bros subsidiary New Line Cinema, Rush Hour was a sleeper hit when it came out in 1998, launching a successful three-movie franchise that has grossed more than $500 million domestically and topped $845 million worldwide. (Watch the trailer for the first movie above.) There had been a lot of talk about doing another sequel, with Chan indicating as recently as last month that Warner Bros. was still interested in doing a fourth Rush Hour film, but there is nothing actively in the works.
Rush Hour, from WBTV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer, marks a second big project for Doozer this season. A comedy from Tommy Johnagin, Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker recently landed a pilot production commitment from CBS. The ICM Partners-repped company also has series Undateable on NBC as well as Cougar Town and Ground Floor on TBS.
Before joining Cougar Town, McCormick, repped by UTA and Kaplan Perrone, worked on Fox’s King Of The Hill. Last season, Lawrence and McCormick teamed for another hourlong action buddy comedy, Chasing Skips, which had a put pilot commitment at Fox.
Rush Hour joins another big movie title, Minority Report, which was sold as a series to Fox with a put pilot commitment. Ratner has strong ties with Warner Bros. on the feature side. He and his RatPac Entertainment partner James Packer have a first-look deal at the studio. And the duo, along with Steven Mnuchin, have a $450 million deal to co-finance the entire slate of Warner Bros films.