AFM: Dave Bautista's 'Universe's Most Wanted' Sells Wide

Dave Bautista, Brad Peyton
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Dave Bautista, Brad Peyton

AGC International has pre-sold the upcoming sci-fi comedy, directed by Brad Peyton, across most of the world at the all-virtual American Film Market

The world wants the Universe's Most Wanted.

International distributors across Europe, Asia, and Latin America have snatched up the upcoming sci-fi comedy from Rampage and San Andreas director Brad Peyton which has Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista attached to star.

Europe has sold out for the title, which rights going to Entertainment Film Distribution for U.K. and Ireland; to Constantin Film for German-speaking territories, to Metropolitan for France, The Searchers in Benelux, and Volga Film for CIS and Baltic territories. Vertice Cine acquired rights across Latin America, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, with SPI International taking Eastern Europe and Turkey.

Universe's Most Wanted also sold to Canada (Elevation Pictures), South Korea (Joy N Cinema), India (MVP Entertainment), Taiwan (Long Shong International), Thailand (Sahamongkolfilm), Hong Kong (Panorama Entertainment) and the Philippines (Pioneer Films). Empire Entertainment acquired rights in South Africa, Selim Ramia & Co. in the Middle East, and United King in Israel.

Stuart Ford's AGC International, which is handling international sales, pitched the project to buyers via a 45-minute Zoom presentation, featuring Ford, Peyton, and Bautista, on Monday, Nov. 9 on the first day of the all-virtual American Film Market.

The film's setup sees the residents of a small American town forced to fight for their, and the world's survival, after a spaceship carrying the universe’s most wanted and dangerous criminals crash lands in their backyard. The son of the local sheriff joins forces with an intergalactic peacekeeper (Bautista) to keep the dangerous group of alien prisoners from escaping and taking over the world.

Peyton will direct and produce Universe's Most Wanted via his production company ASAP Entertainment, along with ASAP’s Jeff Fierson, from a script by F. Scott Frazier (xXx: Return of Xander Cage) and Jimmy Loweree. Bautista will also produce via his Dream Bros Entertainment shingle, along with Dream Bros’ Jonathan Meisner. The film is scheduled to begin production in Spring 2021 for a mid-2022 delivery date.

Business overall at the AFM this year was slow. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has forced theaters across much of the world to shut down, put a damper on business, and many independent productions have found it difficult to secure financing and insurance to shoot under COVID.

But AGC said the minimum guarantees distributors put up for Universe's Most Wanted were on par with the company's recent $100 million plus-budgeted titles, the Roland Emmerich-directed Midway and upcoming Moonfall, suggesting that buyers are betting on a quick rebound to the business.

"With an anticipated delivery date of mid-2022, and perhaps buoyed by the news of progress with a Covid-19 vaccine, international distributors aggressively pursued the opportunity to board a potential four quadrant tentpole project to anchor a hoped-for 2022 rebound at the box office," AGC International said in a statement.

AGC and CAA Media Finance, which are jointly handling U.S. rights on Universe's Most Wanted, said they are currently in negotiations with several companies.