By Marc GRASER (Variety)
“Lockdown” will become the second action film that WWE Studios and Lionsgate will co-produce and release through their “six-pack” movie deal.
WWE star Jonathan Good, known in the ring as Dean Ambrose, will headline the film, to be directed by Stephen Reynolds (“Tomb Raider: Ascension”). Production starts this month.
Good, who made his debut on WWE’s main roster in 2012, has generated a major fan following after breaking out as a member of the group The Shield, and quickly proved his abilities on the mic and in story lines in and outside of the ring. WWE is now betting that he may be able to cross over into films, as well. “Lockdown” will be his first starring role in a movie.
Written by Nathan Brooks and Bobby Lee Darby (“See No Evil 2″), “Lockdown” follows a police officer who finds himself trapped inside his own precinct and hunted after crooked cops stop at nothing to recover incriminating evidence of illegal activities against those closest to him.
The film follows “Vendetta,” that stars the Big Show and is directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (“See No Evil 2″), while “Leprechaun: Origins,” which Lionsgate is also distributing with a limited release in theaters before hitting homevideo platforms, was part of an earlier deal.
“Leprechaun: Origins” had initially been intended for direct to home entertainment platforms on Aug. 26, but will now also give the film a limited release in theaters on Aug. 22, after a presentation for the film was well received at Comic-Con in San Diego.
“Lockdown will continue to energize and excite with the high level of adrenaline our fans have come to expect from our films,” said WWE Studios president Michael Luisi.
The list of movies Lionsgate and WWE have produced together is now growing considerably after starting with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin-starrer “The Condemned,” as well as horror pic “See No Evil.”
The six new action films are meant to showcase WWE talent in starring roles and help incubate new talent, WWE and Lionsgate said when making the deal in May.
Lionsgate sparked to the idea of being able to market the movies to WWE’s fanbase that watches its weekly TV shows and pay-per-views, as well as visits its websites and subscribes to its digital network.
“We’re proud to continue our long-standing partnership with WWE Studios, whose prowess in marketing to their global fan base delivers a consistent track record of commercial success,” said Lionsgate co-chief operating officer and motion picture group president Steve Beeks.
WWE Studios also released horror entry “Oculus,” this summer, together with Relativity and Jason Blum, and a direct-to-homevid “Scooby-Doo” movie set at “WrestleMania” with Warner Home Video.