SF - Photo 2018 copy

Source: AGC Studios

Stuart Ford

Sci-fi adventure Universe’s Most Wanted starring Dave Bautista has been snapped up around the world, after being introduced to buyers by AGC Studios at the virtual AFM.

The upcoming feature has been acquired for the UK and Ireland (Entertainment Film Distribution); Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Constantin Film); France (Metropolitan); Latin America, Spain, Italy and Portugal (Vertice Cine); Canada (Elevation Pictures); CIS and Baltics (Volga Film); Benelux (The Searchers); Eastern Europe and Turkey (SPI International); the Middle East (Selim Ramia & Co); Israel (United King); South Africa (Empire Entertainment); and airlines (Echo Lake Entertainment).

In Asia, the sci-fi has sold to South Korea (Joy N Cinema); Taiwan (Long Shong International); India (MVP Entertainment); Thailand (Sahamongkolfilm); Hong Kong (Panorama Entertainment); and the Philippines (Pioneer Films).

Production has been earmarked for spring 2021 and Brad Peyton (Rampage, San Andreas) will direct from a screenplay by F. Scott Frazier (xXx: Return of Xander Cage) and Jimmy Loweree.

The story centres on a small town where a spaceship carrying the universe’s most dangerous criminals crash-lands. The sheriff’s son soon becomes a hero when he finds himself helping an intergalactic peacekeeper (Bautista) to keep the alien prisoners from taking over the world.

Peyton will produce via his production company ASAP Entertainment, along with ASAP’s Jeff Fierson.

Guardians Of The Galaxy star Bautista will also produce through his production company Dream Bros Entertainment, along with Dream Bros’ Jonathan Meisner.

AGC Studios launched worldwide sales on the project with CAA Media Finance at the AFM last week. A 45-minute Zoom presentation took place between buyers, AGC head Stuart Ford, director Peyton and Bautista on November 9 - the first day of the virtual market.

Speaking to Screen during AFM, Ford observed willingness among buyers to “spend aggressively” on the sci-fi adventure as a pillar for their 2022 slates. “By that time, there’s a strong expectation global box office will have rebounded,” said Ford.

Discussions with US studios are understood to be ongoing with negotiations in play with several companies.

AGC International, the licensing and distribution arm of AGC Studios, has launched two big-budget independent films in recent years: war action film Midway, which topped the US box office when it opened last November; and upcoming Roland Emmerich sci-fi Moonfall.

AGC said minimum guarantees on Universe’s Most Wanted were at a comparable level to those two productions, despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding releases over the past year as a result of the pandemic.