Lionsgate, which is releasing the Keanu Reeves-starring John Wick 2 nationwide tomorrow via its Summit label, has just acquired U.S. distribution rights to Reeves’ film Rally Car. Deadline revealed last month the distributor was in pole position to land the film. The China-centric movie will be directed by Olivier Megaton (Taken 2, Taken 3, Colombiana) and be shot from a script by Jeremy Lott based on a treatment by Stephen Hamel. The film, described as in the vein of Cannonball Run, will shoot in China and the United States in the summer.
In the project, Reeves stars as an American NASCAR driver who revitalizes his career by entering an international Rally Car race across China, and learns to win as part of a team when he joins forces wit a young Chinese woman who yearns to become a driver herself.
The announcement comes one day after Lionsgate’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts, in which execs noted their intention to do more co-production with China. Specifically, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer noted: “It’s a great market for us, it’s a growing market and it’s going to keep growing. We have a very diverse set of businesses and a very diverse set of relationships, and I think that’s really the key to what we’re doing. We are investing with them. We are being financed by them. We’re creating indigenous projects with them, co-productions with them, output deals with them.” Lionsgate also is doing a Chinese local-language version of the studio’s romance/dance franchise Step Up, and calling it Step Up China.
Rally Car will be produced by Hamel (Passengers) and Reeves of Company Films and Mark Gao and Gregory Ouanhon of Fundamental Films. Gary Glushon will executive produce. The film will bring together a multi-cultural cast. Deadline first reported the project when Reeves came aboard back in 2015.
The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Constantine, along with Eda Kowan, EVP Acquisitions and Co-productions; John Biondo, EVP Business and Legal Affairs, Acquisitions and Co-productions; and Elizabeth Hopkins, SVP Business and Legal Affairs. For Fundamental Films, the deal was negotiated by WME and Sheri Jeffrey, Kevin Garland at Hogan Lovells. IM Global is handling international sales of the picture at the European Film Market in Berlin.