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Wes Ball, director of Fox’s YA franchise The Maze Runner, will now call the studio his home.
The filmmaker has signed a three-year first-look deal with Fox and will set up his newly launched company OddBall Entertainment at the studio’s Century City headquarters. Ball will run the shingle with partner Joe Hartwick, Jr.
OddBall will focus on high-concept genre fare that is to be made in a financially responsible way.
Fox already has deals with such helmers as Ridley Scott, Shawn Levy and Paul Feig, all veterans, but with Ball, it gets a young filmmaker on the rise whom it can help grow and keep in the fold.
Ball made his breakthrough with Ruin, an online short that went viral in 2012. The eight-minute sci-fi effort got picked by the studio and soon after Ball was hired to direct Maze Runner, its adaptation of the James Dashner book.
When that proved to be a hit, launching a franchise, Ball found himself shepherding the sequels, directing 2015’s The Scorch Trials, and is now working on The Death Cure, slated for a 2017 release.
The movies are examples of how Ball and Hartwick plan to operate. The two Maze Runner pics were made for about $95 million combined and grossed over $660 million.
OddBall is meant to not only serve as a platform for Ball’s own directorial efforts, but Ball and Hartwick hope to attract similar-minded up-and-coming filmmakers to work on movies that are big in scope but told in budgetarily smart ways.
There are two projects already in development:
— In Search of Humans, a sci-fi thriller based on one of Ball’s original ideas that just saw Matt Robinson (Monster Trucks) hired to pen the script. Chernin Entertainment is co-producing with OddBall.
— Fall of Gods, based on the crowdfunded illustrated novel from Denmark-based Mood Studios that deals with Norse mythology. Fox picked up the project in August and Ball is attached to direct with OddBall producing with Steve Tzirlin, best known for his work on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Ball is repped by APA, Gotham Group and Stone Meyer.
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