Cannes: Paramount Nabs Chris Hemsworth-Tiffany Haddish Action Comedy 'Down Under Cover'
Sources say Netflix chased the project, offering more money. But Paramount — in town for the 'Rocketman' launch — closed the deal, giving it a 'Lethal Weapon'-esque buddy comedy for its 2020 slate.
In the biggest deal of the 2019 Cannes market by far, Paramount has snapped up worldwide rights to the Chris Hemsworth-Tiffany Haddish action-comedy Down Under Cover, making a $40 million budget commitment, according to sources.
Sources say Netflix chased the project, offering $50 million. But Paramount — in town for the Rocketman launch — closed the deal, giving the studio a Lethal Weapon-esque buddy comedy, potentially for its 2020 slate.
Universal bought the biggest package of last year's Cannes market, the female-fronted spy film 355. Both Down Under Cover and 355 hail from red-hot FilmNation, which has three other pics in this year's market including the Shailene Woodley psychological thriller Misanthrope. But the two deals are slightly different, as Universal took U.S. rights to the Jessica Chastain-fronted 355 for $20 million as opposed to Down Under Cover's worldwide rights.
Heading into this year's market, Down Under Cover looked to be the most promising studio bet, considering that it teamed up Avengers: Endgame's Hemsworth with proven comedy star Haddish.
Written by Peter Hoare, the film sees Hemsworth playing a cop who goes undercover to solve a string of casino heists where a troupe of Australian male exotic dancers are suspected as culprits. Also investigating is a lone-wolf detective (Haddish), who clashes with her crime-solving partner.
CAA, which handles Hemsworth, and Haddish's agency UTA also helped negotiate the giant deal.