Chris Pratt’s Cowboy Ninja Viking will no longer be hitting theaters next summer.
Universal has indefinitely delayed the film and pulled it from its planned release date, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The pic was in preproduction and last week cast Priyanka Chopra as its female lead as it was heading for a shoot in London next month. It had been slated to open June 28, 2019.
The studio says it remains in active development and will be dated down the line “to accommodate production scheduling.” Sources say the project has suffered from script issues, and rumors of a shutdown have percolated since March.
The pic was not an expensive gamble for the studio. Sources say it was in the $65 million range and looked at as a potential franchise starter. It was to have been helmed by Michelle MacLaren, the acclaimed television director who was to make her feature debut on the project.
Dan Mazeau, Ryan Engle, Craig Mazin, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese worked on the screenplay and sought to adapt the Image Comics property by A.J. Lieberman and illustrator Riley Rossmo. It revolves around a counter-intelligence unit formed by psychotherapist Dr. Sebastian Ghislain, who transforms agents known as Triplets, a reference to multiple personalities.
It is unclear what Pratt’s next move will be. He remains a big draw in Universal’s eyes and is a headliner for its Jurassic World franchise, with the third installment being written now. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was due to begin shooting in February, although that movie no longer has a director as filmmaker James Gunn was let go by Disney over old, inappropriate tweets.
Collider first reported the news of the Cowboy Ninja Viking project being pulled.