Sundance: WWE Studios, Blumhouse Team to Acquire Thriller 'Sleight'

The deal, pegged at low seven figures, calls for a theatrical release on 1,000 screens.
'Sleight'  Courtesy of Sundance Institute

WWE Studios and Blumhouse Productions on Thursday announced that they have acquired all worldwide rights to the Sundance film Sleight.

The deal was pegged at low seven figures and WWE Studios is exploring a theatrical release similar to its previous films including The Call and Oculus, a source told The Hollywood Reporter.

BH Tilt, a division of Blumhouse run by John Hegeman, will oversee the release and marketing of Sleight. WWE Studios will leverage its parent company's extensive platforms from weekly TV shows — including WWE’s flagship programs Monday Night Raw and SmackDown — digital, social media and WWE Network to market the film.

Sleight, which premiered as part of the Sundance Film Festival's NEXT section, is a dramatic thriller that blends science fiction and magic in a tale set in Los Angeles. The film marks JD Dillard’s directorial debut.

Written by Dillard and Alex Theurer, Sleight centers on a young street magician who is left to care for his little sister after his mother's passing and turns to drug dealing in the Los Angeles party scene to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets into trouble with his supplier, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to rely on both his sleight of hand and brilliant mind to save her.

Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner), Dulé Hill (Ballers) and Seychelle Gabriel (Falling Skies) star. The film was produced by Diablo Entertainment's Eric B. Fleischman, who is a Blumhouse veteran, along with Sean Tabibian and Alex Theurer.

"Sleight is a smart, fresh and ambitious movie that was different from anything else we saw at the festival," WWE Studios president Michael Luisi said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be working again with Jason and the team at Blumhouse, and now John and BH Tilt, to bring JD Dillard's compelling first feature to audiences worldwide."

Added Blumhouse founder-CEO Jason Blum: “We love low-budget filmmaking because it allows directors to take creative risks, and that is exactly what JD Dillard did with Sleight, a truly original and unique movie. We are excited to once again collaborate with Michael and WWE Studios, and to have BH Tilt continue to take advantage of the evolution in digital marketing.”

Blumhouse and WWE Studios previously teamed on Mike Flanagan's horror breakout Oculus.

WWE Studios' previous films include the Halle Berry starrer The Call and Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and WWE star Wade Barrett. The company's upcoming slate includes Incarnate, starring Aaron Eckhart; Brother’s Blood, starring Trey Songz and WWE star R-Truth; and Killing Hasselhoff, a comedy teaming Ken Jeong and David Hasselhoff.

Bradley Buchanan handled negotiations for Sleight on behalf of WWE Studios, and CAA brokered the deal on behalf of Diablo and newly signed clients Dillard and Theurer. The director and writer continue to be managed by Circle of Confusion.

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