Hollywood Studios Race to Release Uber Themed-Comedies

Will Ferrell GETTY H 2016
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Will Ferrell GETTY H 2016

Universal plunked down seven figures for its Will Ferrell starrer, while Fox has a leg up with its 'Stuber' finished script.

This story first appeared in the May 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Ubers are everywhere, much to the dismay of taxi drivers — and now Hollywood executives as well. In the span of 24 hours in mid-April, two competing Uber-themed film comedies sold to Universal and Fox, leaving both studios feeling a little carsick. On April 14, Universal plunked down seven figures for an untitled comedy pitch with Will Ferrell attached to star. Brendan O'Brien, who co-wrote Universal's Seth Rogen-Zac Efron comedy Neighbors as well as its upcoming sequel, is writing the screenplay, which will be produced by Ferrell and Oscar winner Adam McKay and the duo's Gary Sanchez banner. That film will see Ferrell playing (you guessed it) an Uber driver stuck with a deranged escaped-convict passenger (naturally).

The next morning, Fox paid mid-six figures for Tripper Clancy's spec script Stuber. That project takes place over one harrowing night in the life of an Uber driver who picks up a grizzled cop working the most dangerous case of his career. No talent is attached, but Horrible Bosses and Spider-Man: Homecoming writers Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis Daley will produce. Sources say neither studio was aware of the other project when bidding. In an awkward twist, UTA — which reps Ferrell, O'Brien, Clancy, Goldstein and Daley — sold both projects. Given the pedigree of Ferrell, McKay and a Neighbors alum, the Universal project would appear to have the edge. But Stuber is a finished script, giving Fox a jump. With two studios racing to be first to the multiplex, both should expect to pay some surge pricing for future drafts.