EXCLUSIVE: We’ve been hearing about this since early October and now it’s official: Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks-MGM movie Fighting With My Family will makes its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival as the surprise screening on Monday, Jan. 28th. The movie, from MGM, opens on Feb. 14.
Previous Sundance surprise screenings include Universal/Blumhouse’s ultimate blockbuster and Oscar winner, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Fox’s Eddie the Eagle and last year’s Jason Reitman-directed pic Tully.
This is the first time a Seven Bucks film has been selected to screen at Sundance. Johnson and Dany Garcia, along with their Seven Bucks President of Production, Hiram Garcia and Fighting With My Family writer/director Stephen Merchant, put their blood, sweat and tears into making this and are extremely proud of the film and they will all be attending the festival with the cast in support of the film.
The Seven Bucks team went outside of the studio system to get the pic made. Seven Bucks, along with Kevin Misher (who Seven Bucks brought on early in the process), received seed money from Film4 before MGM acquired global rights for the project out of Berlin in 2017 for $17.5M, an unprecedented pick-up for the market as exclusively reported by Deadline.
The roots of Fighting With My Family go back to the documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family. One night while shooting in London, Johnson couldn’t sleep and caught the doc on a local public access channel. He became immediately enthralled with the story of the young wrestler Paige, and her eccentric wrestling family. Paige’s family reminded him very much of his own wrestling family and origin story. Johnson saw a lot of heart and humor in Paige’s story: a universal underdog story that audiences would respond to – not just fans of wrestling. The film is as much a story about self-discovery and finding your place in the world – as it is about a young woman who goes from misfit to one of the most beloved figures in the WWE.
Johnson’s father Rocky Johnson was a pro wrestler. The Furious 7 and Rampage star’s maternal grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler, and his maternal grandmother, Lia Maivia, was one of wrestling’s few female promoters, taking over Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after her husband’s death in 1982, until 1988. Rocky Johnson was part of the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team Championship in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Johnson’s cousin, Savelina Fanene, is also a wrestler working for WWE under the ring name Nia Jax
In the movie, wrestling family members Paige (Florence Pugh) and brother Zak (Jack Lowden) get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her family and face this new, cut-throat world alone. Paige’s journey pushes her to dig deep, fight for her family, and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star. The cast also includes Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn, and Dwayne Johnson.
Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions is a multi-platform production company which is behind such movies as Disney’s Jungle Cruise, Universal’s Hobbs and Shaw (nationwide on Aug. 2), Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Legendary’s Skyscraper, New Line’s Rampage, Universal’s Red Notice, Warner Brothers The King and Netflix’s John Henry and The Statesmen. Seven Bucks original television productions include NBC’s The Titan Games, HBO’s Ballers, BET’s Finding Justice, Paramount Network’s Rock the Troops and HBO Documentary Films’ Rock and a Hard Place.