Lionsgate Sells Out Worldwide on Alcon Entertainment's 'Point Break' Reboot
by Scott Roxborough and Pamela McClintock
UPDATED: In the biggest deal of AFM, the $100 million action-thriller -- billed as an extreme-sports update of Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 classic -- wows buyers despite having no cast attached.
Lionsgate is hanging ten with Alcon Entertainment's Point Break reboot, which has quickly become the biggest success story of the 2013 American Film Market after selling out around the globe. The big-budget update of Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 action-thriller will feature a myriad of extreme sports, and not just surfing.
In the current uncertain market climate, it is almost unheard of for an independent film to sell without cast attached, but uber salesman Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, has done just that with Point Break as foreign distributors rushed to outbid each other for rights to the movie, which Warner Bros. will release domestically in spring 2015 on behalf of Alcon.
Alcon, coming of the box office success of Prisoners, is fully financing the ambitious project. Lionsgate is handling the film internationally.
Point Break's dazzling success at AFM is all the more impressive when you consider the film's director, Ericson Core, has just one feature directing credit to his name -- the 2006 football movie Invincible starring Mark Wahlberg. But Core knows how to deliver wow-em visuals (he was the cinematographer on the first Fast and the Furious film) and a pitch reel produced for AFM apparently blew buyers away.
“Buyers were sold on the high concept of the film,” Wachsberger tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This is going to be a much larger scale film than the first one.”
While Wachsberger wouldn't comment on Point Break's budget, buyers suggest it will come in at tentpole level, with insiders placing it somewhere between $90 million-$110 million. Wachsberger said the concept of the reboot would revisit the original film's characters Johnny Utah – an undercover FBI agent investigating a series of daring robberies -- and Bodhi -- the head robber and extreme athlete whose spiritual pursuit of the ultimate kick fascinates and intrigues the cop.
In the original film, Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze played Utah and Bodhi respectively. But the new film will go beyond big wave surfing to include the massive world of extreme sports, including wingsuiting, snowboarding, rock climbing and motorcycle racing.
Giving the project street cred are extreme sport stars including professional skydiver and BASE jumper Jeb Corliss and legendary American rock climber Chris Sharma, who will act as consultants on Point Break.
While the first Point Break was largely set in California, the new film will go global, with location shooting planned in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, China and Malta.
“This will be much more like a James Bond film,” Core told buyers in the AFM pitch reel, giving an idea of the planned scale of the movie.
“It is probably the best high-concept film out there,” said Markus Zimmer, acquisitions head for Germany's Concorde, which is thought to have paid several million for the German rights to the picture.
Kurt Wimmer (Total Recall) has penned the script to Point Break, which Oscar-nominated The Blind Side producers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove are producing for Alcon together with John Baldecchi (The Mexican), Wimmer and Christopher W. Taylor.
Robert L. Levy, Peter Abrams and John McMurrick are executive producing. Principle photography is set to start in March 2014. While there is no official release date yet, buyers suggested Warners will bow Point Break around Easter 2015.
Lionsgate has had a bumper AFM. In addition to Point Break, Wachsberger also sold out its two other biggest market titles: Alex Proyas' epic adventure film Gods of Egypt starring Gerard Butler, Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, and Geoffrey Rush; and Mortdecai, in which Johnny Depp plays a debonair art dealer and part-time rogue who goes on a globe-trotting adventure with wife Gwyneth Paltrow in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the secrets of long lost Nazi gold. Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, and Paul Bettany also star. David Koepp (Premium Rush) is directing.
Rushing off from speaking with THR to catch a flight to the London premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Wachsberger noted before AFM he had been worried his tight schedule would leave him too little time to close deals.
“It didn't turn out to be a problem,” he quipped. “We're done.”