Warner Bros. has emerged as the victor for Ryan Coogler’s next feature film.
Coogler wrote the script and will direct, with Michael B. Jordan starring. Coogler is also producing via his production company, Proximity Media. Zinzi Coogler and Sev Ohanian are also producing.
The acquisition caps off three weeks of intense interest from movie companies, with Universal and Warners ending up as the final two battling for the crown.
Part of package’s appeal was the reteaming of Coogler and Jordan, a combo that has proven to be a winning one, both artistically and financially. Coogler has frequently worked with the actor on projects such as the Black Panther movies, as well as Creed and Fruitvale Station.
Sources say the studio and Coogler are moving fast and are eyeing an April start of production in New Orleans. One aspect of the deal, sources say, is an ownership component that would see Coogler regain certain rights on some sort of timetable. Details were unavailable.
The project was one of several hot packages that hit Hollywood studios and streamers after the Christmas to New Year break. This deal makes it the final big one to land a home. 28 Years Later, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s expansive three-movie sequel plan following their zombie classic 28 Days Later, landed at Sony last week. The more modest but still star-centric Black Bag, a spy thriller from Steven Soderbergh, was picked up by Focus Features last month.
But while 28 Years Later is based on a known title with a nostalgia interest factored in, the Coogler project had executives excited for several reasons. One, it’s an original project that has commercial and franchise potential, and two, it’s an opportunity to get into business with a hot and talented filmmaker who was previously tied up with a couple of studio franchises, but is now a free agent. Coogler’s previous film was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which was released in 2022 and grossed $859.2 million worldwide.
Details are being kept hush-hush, but according to sources, the project has been described as a period thriller (some have said it takes place in the Jim Crow-era South) involving the undead. Some sources have said it also contains anime influences — Jordan is known to be a massive fan — but it is unclear how those influences are weaved into the project.
WME, which reps Coogler and Jordan, handled the dealmaking.