Cannes: Martial Arts Franchise 'Undisputed' Being Rebooted for TV (Exclusive)

Credit: Millennium
'Undisputed'

Millennium and Empire are teaming on the Cannes sales launch of the small-screen adaptation.

Martial arts movie franchise Undisputed — the four-strong hit film series that began in 2002 and has starred the likes of Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames and helped break out Scott Adkins as major action name ­­— is being rebooted for the small screen, with original producer Millennium on board alongside London-based sales banner Empire Films, The Hollywood Reporter can reveal.

Sales are kicking off in Cannes, with the original director Isaac Florentine once again at the helm and a cast due to be announced soon.

Set in New York in the opulent world of international underground fight tournaments, the Undisputed series will continue the journeys of the characters from the film franchise. The story follows the self-discovery voyage of Yuri Boyka (played by Adkins in the films), a Russian prison fighter on parole who seizes the opportunity to participate in the world’s biggest and most prestigious underground fighting tournament. Exposing the lucrative and intricate underbelly of fighting rings, Undisputed will reveal the microcosm of an expansionist international crime organization and connects everyone in it; those who participate in it, organize it, protect it, investigate it and collect the money. This is a world where every action has consequences.

The show will be exec produced by Yariv Lerner (Hellboy, The Expendables, Rambo), alongside series developers Rouslan Ovtcharoff (The Expendables, The Mechanic, Criminal) and Benjamin Jackendoff (Black Eyed Peas Present: Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles), with Empire founder Sean O’Kelly (Gun Shy, Damascus Cover, Iron Sky) and Marc Bikindou (Breaking Point, Den of Lions, Swelter) producing.

Production is slated to commerce from March 2020 at NuBoyana studios in Bulgaria. 

“There’s been a tremendous amount of buzz and pre-sales interest around Undisputed the TV series, with buyers quick to recognize its broad commercial appeal,” said O’Kelly. “As one of the most original and talented directors working today, Isaac Florentine will be sure to deliver the same riveting, high-octane action experience that Undisputed fans around the world have come to love and expect.”

Since April 2016, the Undisputed franchise has been viewed more than 1.2 billion times. At the 2017 Shanghai Film Festival, Boyka Undisputed 4 won the Best Fight Award, while Adkins won the Jackie Chan Best Action Movie Actor Award for his portrayal of Yuri Boyka. 

"I am hoping that the mainstream American audience will finally discover the character of Yuri Boyka and like him the way he’s adored in the rest of the world," said Florentine.

Added Lerner: "NuBoyana studios was the home for all the Undisputed movies and we are excited to offer the same unparalleled production value to the series."