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Universal is getting into the Broken Lizard comedy business, picking up “Rogue Scholars” and an untitled project from the comedy group.
Motion Picture Corporation of America has partnered with Broken Lizard on the pictures and will co-finance both projects through its studio feature film investment fund.
“Rogue” is being developed as a college comedy revolving around five unruly professors played by the members of Broken Lizard — Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske. The group also handles writing chores for their movies.
Details for the second project are being kept under wraps. Both are in the script stage.
Brad Krevoy, Mike Callaghan and Reuben Liber of MPCA will produce with Richard Perello of Broken Lizard Industries.
Universal’s Tracy Falco and Kiska Higgs will oversee the projects for the studio. Callaghan will oversee for MPCA.
By putting Broken Lizard into their terrarium, Universal gets a couple of low-budget comedies that are good bets. Although the group’s comedies, ranging from “Super Troopers” to “Beerfest,” haven’t drawn big numbers at the boxoffice, they have a solid fan base, tend to be profitable and perform well on DVD. The group recently finished a comedy tour that covered 40 cities and is doing a special for Comedy Central set to air in the fall.
But MPCA, which has a history of producing comedies — including the Farrelly brothers’ “Dumb & Dumber” and “Kingpin” and Chris Farley’s “Beverly Hills Ninja” — said the plan with “Rogue” and the second project is to bring Broken Lizard to a broader audience.
“Every five to 10 years, there’s a new group that comes to the fore in the comedy world,” Krevoy said. “If you look at their body of work and see that they understand modern comedy, they are ready for that breakout. We want to expand them out of their core audience into a four-quadrant audience. They are worth the commitment to get these films made.”
Krevoy said “Rogue” will try to reach three generations of comedy fans by aiming for college-aged funnymen as the students, Broken Lizard as the teachers and an older generation as the administration.
“We are hoping to have the best and the brightest appear in this,” Krevoy said.
Chandrasekhar, Lemme and Stolhanske are repped by UTA. Heffernan and Soter are repped by APA. Chandrasekhar is additionally repped by the Gotham Group, while Heffernan and Soter also are repped by 3 Arts Entertainment.
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