Europacorp TV Studios Options ‘Ruiner’ Video Game; DJ2 To Produce

Europacorp has made a pre-emptive move to acquire TV rights to Ruiner, a new video game title from Devolver Digital and Reikon Games. DJ2 Entertainment co-founder and CEO Dmitri M. Johnson, whose company discovered the game and partnered with Luc Besson’s Europacorp shortly after its September release, is executive producing along Besson and with DJ2’s Stephan Bugaj. 

Described as John Wick meets The Matrix, Ruiner is a cyberpunk action game set in a world where a brutal corporation harvests human emotions from the poor to sell to the rich. It hero is a man with a deadly set of skills and a hackable neural implant chip who must break free from corporate control to save his brother from being harvested – a mission that puts him on a fatal collision course with a very powerful enemy. Watch a trailer for Ruiner below.

EuropaCorp is starting to approach writers and directors and plans to take the project out in 2018.

DJ2 Entertainment recently sold video game rights for narrative adaptations to Paramount (Sonic the Hedgehog), Hulu (Life Is Strange), the Russo Brothers Studio (Little Nightmares), Gold Circle (We Happy Few) and Original Film (Sleeping Dogs). Europacorp is in production on Season 2 of Taken and coming off the sci-fi actioner Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

The deal for Ruiner was represented and brokered by APA and Bloom Hergott.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie Races to Paramount

Paramount Pictures has nabbed the movie rights to Sonic the Hedgehog, the popular SEGA video game franchise.

Neal H. Moritz, whose Original Film banner recently signed an upcoming first look deal with Paramount, will produce the project, which is coming to the studio after Sony Entertainment put it into turnaround.

Much of the team that was developing it at Sony remains: In addition to Moritz, Deadpool director Tim Miller is executive producing, while his longtime Blur Studio collaborator Jeff Fowler will make his feature directorial debut on the film. Also executive producing is Toby Ascher, while Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons will serve as co-producers.

Sonic the Hedgehog centers on Sonic and his friends, such as Tails and Knuckles, who run around collecting items and points as they attempt to foil the global domination plans of Doctor Eggman Robotnik. The game was first released by SEGA in 1991, with the character becoming one of the world’s biggest gaming icons. More than 360 million copies, including both packaged and digital games, have been sold on various platforms.

Paramount plans on making a movie that will blend live action and CGI animation as it brings Sonic to the big screen for the first time.

Fowler previously wrote and directed the animal-centric Gopher Broke, the 2005 Academy Award-nominated animated short that Miller executive produced.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - DJ2 entertainment& the Russo Brothers Adapting Video Game 'Little Nightmares' for TV

Anthony and Joe Russo, the filmmaking duo behind Captain America: Civil War andWinter Soldier, are teaming with A Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick to bring the horror-adventure video game Little Nightmares to the small screen.

The Russo brothers will develop and executive produce the television series with Dmitri M. Johnson and Stephan Bugaj of DJ2 Entertainment, the company making a name for itself adapting video games such as Life Is Strange and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Selick will helm the pilot and possibly other episodes. 

The Little Nightmares game follows a 9-year-old girl named Six who finds herself trapped on the bottom of a terror-filled ship named the Maw. With hunger and the depths one goes to satiate that hunger as the themes, the storyline follows Six as she tries to escape from the ship while evading capture and death at the hands of characters named the Janitor, the Twin Chefs and the Lady.

Dan Jevons will act as a producer, while Samuel Gatte will executive produce for Bandai-Namco. Russo company exec Mike Larocca will act as co-executive producer.

DJ2 discovered the game while it was still being worked on by Tarsier Studios, then partnered with Bandai-Namco ahead of the game’s very recent release in April. The Russos acquired the TV rights in a competitive situation.

The brothers — who via their yet-to-be-named company are developing projects for various media — recently partnered with Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, the team behind indie breakout Swiss Army Man,on an original sci-fi movie venture. The Russos are in postproduction on the mega Marvel productionAvengers: Infinity War, which is slated for a May 4, 2018, release.

Selick is the Academy Award-nominated director behind not only the classic Nightmare Before Christmas but also 2009's Coraline and 1996's James and the Giant Peach.

VARIETY - ‘We Happy Few’ Videogame Getting Movie Adaptation

A movie based on the videogame “We Happy Few” is in the works with “Pitch Perfect” producer Gold Circle Entertainment, Variety has learned exclusively.

Videogame developer Compulsion Games has partnered with dj2 Entertainment on the project. Gold Circle’s Paul Brooks and dj2 Entertainment CEO Dmitri M. Johnson and Chief Content Officer Dan Jevons will produce the project with dj2’s Stephan Bugaj serving as executive producer. 

“We Happy Few” is set in an eerie and isolated English town during an alternate-1960s, where the government has imposed a drug-induced happiness to mask gruesome violence and conceal a nefarious mystery. The story revolves around one rebellious resident illegally free of the drug’s effects, who risks his life to learn why his home is a bizarre open-air prison. 

Howard Bliss, head of business affairs at dj2 Entertainment, helped land the project at Gold Circle, and the two companies are seeking writers.

“Dmitri, Stephan, and Dan approached us enthusiastically with really solid ideas about how to adapt our game to film while retaining its menace, dark humor, and central themes,” said Guillaume Provost, head developer at Compulsion Games.

“Our commitment is to make a movie that remains true to the source material, while still surprising fans,” Johnson said.

Gold Circle is the producer on the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Pitch Perfect” franchises. Gold Circle is currently in production on “Pitch Perfect 3” with Brownstone Pictures and Universal, and the indie pic “Break My Heart 1,000 Times.”

Dj2 is also producing the Donnie Yen-starrer “Sleeping Dogs” with Original Film, as well as co-producing the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie.

Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson represent dj2 and Compulsion Games. Dj2 is also repped by APA.

DEADLINE - Donnie Yen To Headline ‘Sleeping Dogs’ For dj2 entertainment & Original Film

Who best to start a new IP for Neal Moritz’s Original Film (Fast and Furious) than the Ip Man himself? Martial artist Donnie Yen is set to star in a new feature from Moritz entitled Sleeping Dogs, which is based on the top-selling video game by Square Enix.

Yen, who recently co-starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and xXx: Return of Xander Cage, follows an undercover police officer (Yen) on a mission to take down one of the most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations in the world: the notorious Triads. The movie based on an action video game is set in Hong Kong and focuses on martial arts fighting, racing, boat chases … and shooting while doing all of that.

Yen, a Chinese martial artist, has long been a fight choreographer and is probably best known to audiences as the star —  and Wing Chun grandmaster — of the Ip Manfranchise. Original Film is producing with DJ2 Entertainment, specifically producers will be Moritz, Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons with Toby Ascher and Stephan Bugaj executive producing. DJ2 is currently co-producing the upcoming live-action/CG feature Sonic the Hedgehog for Sony.

Yen is beloved in China. About a month before xXx: Return of Xander Cage bowed in the country, Paramount put Yen front and center in marketing for the film to appeal to local audiences and to drive ticket sales on local Chinese websites. We’re told that Gewara, Wepiao, Maoyan and Sina Weibo Ticketing sites in China carried an image prominently displaying Yen and upstaging Diesel. Both the Paramount image and the local image to drive Chinese audiences into theaters are both shown with this story.

The concentration on Yen certainly paid off. The film won the 2nd  biggest Imax February debut ever in China, behind only the 2014 film and local sensation The Monkey King 2.

The third of Ip Man did tremendous business — $124M in China — last year.

CAA, which represents Yen, is packaging the film and in discussions with multiple financiers. Bugaij and DJ2 Entertainment is repped by APA.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - DJ2 and Legendary Tackling Adaptation of 'Life Is Strange'

 

Legendary Digital Studios and Square Enix have joined forces to adapt the award-winning video game, Life Is Strange.

The project will be developed and produced in conjunction with Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons of dj2 Entertainment. The latter produced the animated series Skulls of the Shogun for Legendary-owned Nerdist Industries, as well as the upcoming film Sonic the Hedgehog for Sony Pictures.

The video game is episodic in nature and follows the story of photography enthusiast Max Caulfield, a high-school senior who discovers she can rewind time while saving her best friend Chloe Price. The pair soon find themselves investigating the mysterious disappearance of fellow student Rachel Amber, which uncovers a dark side to life in their town, Arcadia Bay.

In addition to winning the BAFTA for best story, the Peabody Award, the Golden Joystick's Performance of the Year and the Game Awards Games for Impact Award, Life Is Strange has garnered over 75 Game of the Year awards and listings.

The game was brought into Legendary by Cory Lanier, who will oversee the project with Greg Siegel, senior vp development and production for Legendary Digital Studios.

Life is Strange really differs from what people think of gaming,” said Siegel. “Because there’s such a focus on character, there’s an emotional connection to the story that doesn’t happen with other games.”

Strange appealed to Legendary because it was anchored in the real world, with a high-school setting, and dealt with the idea of consequences to one’s actions. Those, combined with a female lead, resonated with execs.  

A search for a writer and director will get underway shortly.

Legendary Digital Studios recently produced Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, a modern reboot of the 1970s series from Sid and Marty Krofft, Dead Rising for Crackle and The Thinning.