'Punk'd' Co-Creator Plots Celebrity Prank Movie Series with STX, Warner Bros (Exclusive)
Jason Goldberg is behind a possible franchise of $5 million-budget films in the vein of the former MTV series.
The co-creator of Punk’d is back with a new celebrity stunt show, and this time it's aimed for the big screen.
Jason Goldberg, who with Ashton Kutcher created one of MTV’s signature series, has partnered with upstart studio STX Entertainment for what would be a series of movies around the $5 million budget range that would ideally be released around April Fool's Day, according to sources. There is currently no title for the project.
STX, the new studio founded by veteran executive Robert Simonds, does not yet have an international distribution apparatus, so it is in talks with Warner Bros. to distribute the films outside the U.S.
Sources say the first movie, which came from the relationship between STX’s film chief Adam Fogelson and Goldberg, would feature around 9 to 10 segments and include celebrities ranging from comedians to dramatic actors to music and sports figures. Warners' film chief Greg Silverman, when approached with the idea, signed on to back the series and distribute internationally.
The potential movie franchise would put STX and Warners in the low-budget reality movie business, a sphere that has been occupied to great success by Paramount via the Jackass movies. Those films, based on an MTV show, proved to be massive money-making hits (2010’s Jackass 3D, the most successful of the lot, made $117 million domestic on a reported budget of $20 million).
Punk’d was a hidden camera show that saw Kutcher prank celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Jessica Alba, Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. It also helped launch the careers of Dax Shepherd, Whitney Cummings and BJ Novak, who appeared on the show as Kutcher’s accomplices.
STX and Warner Bros. declined to comment.