Dwayne Johnson will star in “Red One” for Amazon Studios, the streaming service announced Monday. The film will reunite Johnson with “Fast and Furious” scribe Chris Morgan — the pair recently collaborated on the hit spinoff “Hobbs & Shaw.”
The deal for the film treatment, which comes after a highly competitive bidding situation, is another sign that Amazon is focused on creating more populist fare. Its interest in fielding more broadly entertaining films comes as the streaming wars continue to heat up, with new entrants like HBO Max, Paramount Plus, and Disney Plus elbowing into the space.
The deal is a statement-making moment for Amazon Studios and its chief Jennifer Salke, who has made a big push to acquire splashier properties. Amazon initially focused on awards contenders such as “Manchester by the Sea” and indie fare like “Brad’s Status” and “Wiener-Dog.” After Salke came on board in 2018, the company has augmented those offerings with the likes of “Borat 2,” the Michael B. Jordan thriller “Without Remorse,” and “Coming 2 America,” taking advantage of the pandemic era shutdown of movie theaters to acquire those properties from traditional studios like Paramount and Universal. Partnering with Johnson gives Amazon access to one of the world’s biggest stars, with hits on his resume that include “San Andreas” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
“Red One” was conceived by Hiram Garcia, president of production at Seven Bucks Productions, the company that Johnson co-created and founded with Dany Garcia. It’s described as a “globe-trotting, four-quadrant action-adventure comedy” which imagines “a whole new universe to explore within the holiday genre.” The press release announcing the deal moves beyond those exciting, if slightly vague descriptors to say that “this unique concept represents a property that could encompass not only a tentpole film, but could reach beyond entertainment across multiple industries and businesses.” Presumably that translates into a franchise that could complement Amazon’s massive e-commerce business, which is no stranger to holiday season shoppers.
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“Hold my Mana, because this is exciting,” said Dwayne Johnson. “Our Seven Bucks is very bullish on our partnership with Amazon Studios; underpinned with some innovation, some pioneering and a lot of positive energy and passion. I’ve been very impressed with Jen Salke and her team’s vision and ambition to create an enormous, fun and unique ‘Red One’ holiday universe for families around the world to enjoy.”
The film is currently scheduled to shoot in 2022 with a planned 2023 holiday release.
Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia will produce the film on behalf of Seven Bucks Productions. Morgan will produce in addition to overseeing the script.
“Seven Bucks Productions is a leader in creating unique and compelling entertainment for the entire family, and we know Red One will continue that tradition,” said Salke. “Hiram’s concept and the world he’s envisioned are uniquely original and we are so excited to team with Seven Bucks Productions and Chris Morgan to help bring it to life. ‘Red One’ is just the first step in what we know will be a successful, collaborative venture.”
Hiram Garcia, who came up with the original story, added “‘Red One’ is incredibly special to me and a story I’ve wanted to tell for years. An epic, edge-of- your seat, action adventure that takes beloved holiday mythology and turns it on its head. I’m thrilled to have our Seven Bucks team join forces with Amazon to bring this fun Holiday tale to life for a global audience.”
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