UPDATED, 6:03 PM: Legendary has won the multi-studio bidding war for rights to Skyscraper, an action pitch set in China starring Dwayne Johnson and to be written and directed by his Central Intelligence helmer Rawson Marshall Thurber. Mary Parent, who runs Legendary now, was said to be aggressive in wooing the property from other bidders including Sony and Paramount. Beau Flynn is producing with Johnson and Thurber among others. Universal will distribute as part of its overall deal.
The pitch generated multiple seven-figure offers after the auction brokered by WME that kicked off yesterday. Johnson is attached to star in the project, which is being described as a “Die Hard in China” star vehicle in which one man goes up against extraordinary circumstances.
This is a big get for Legendary, which in January sold a majority stake to China’s Wanda for $3.5 billion. Legendary of course had been no stranger to Chinese investment, having previously danced with Huayi Brothers (a deal was reached, but it was quickly dissolved). Legendary and Universal are teaming on the Matt Damon-starring The Great Wall, the first tentpole-sized English-language film produced in China and directed by local helmer Zhang Yimou. It recently was moved to a February 17, 2017, release date and is the largest film ever shot entirely in China.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, WEDNESDAY 10:59 PM: There’s an action pitch that Rawson Marshall Thurber is writing and will direct that is generating a serious bidding war, with multiple seven-figure offers on the table. Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in the project, which is being described as a Die Hard in China-type star vehicle for The Rock, where it becomes one man against extraordinary circumstances and is set in the Middle Kingdom. Beau Flynn is the producer.
Legendary and Universal have made a seven-figure offer, we’re hearing, as have Sony and Paramount. New Line is also circling this. It’s very possible that this auction will be concluded by the holiday, probably by tomorrow. The bidding becomes another recent example where studios are really willing to step up for the right package.
Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re The Millers) and Johnson just teamed on New Line’s buddy comedy Central Intelligence co-starring Kevin Hart which comes out June 17. Flynn and The Rock have worked together several times including on 2014’s Hercules, last year’s big summer actioner San Andreas and currently on the Baywatch redo.
WME is brokering this auction. Stay tuned.