Lionsgate Lands Tim Story-Helmed MRC-Funded Toronto Midnight Madness Comedy ‘The Blackening’ – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has won a bidding battle to acquire worldwide rights to MRCs Blackening, the horror-comedy flick that premiered in the Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness segment last month and has become one of the hottest acquisition titles. The deal requires wide theatrical distribution, and Lionsgate is handling AFM sales. Deadline revealed that shortly after the premiere, three offers were on the table for worldwide rights. Those deals were just under $20 million, so imagine the deal was in that quarter.
Directed by Tim Story, co-written by Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins, Blackening centers on a group of black friends who go away for the weekend only to find themselves trapped in a cabin with a killer who forces them to play a game with life or death consequences. The film is inspired by a 3Peat comedy sketch of the same name, written by Perkins, which aired on Comedy Central in 2018. The idea poses a reasonable question: since it seems that black characters are usually the first victims in movies horror, so what happens when all the characters are black?
“Blackening is a hugely entertaining horror film that is scary while hilariously subverting the genre,” said Jason Constantine, Lionsgate President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. “Tim Story, Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins delivered a film that works on many levels – as big fans of the genre, they are able to stay true to convention while subverting it. We’re also thrilled to have MRC Film back then. that we bring the laughs and thrills of this movie to the audience.
MRC Film co-presidents Brye Adler and Jonathan Golfman said, “From the moment the idea of Blackening, we knew we had to make this movie. We were fortunate to work with Tim, Tracy, Dewayne and our incredibly talented cast of actors to bring this fun and original film to life. We’re thrilled to once again partner with our friends at Lionsgate and can’t wait for audiences to experience this film’s journey in theaters.
The Blackening stars Antoinette Robertson, Dewayne Perkins, Sinqua Walls, Grace Byers, X Mayo, Melvin Gregg, Jermaine Fowler, Yvonne Orji and Jay Pharoah, and is produced by Marcei A. Brown, Jason Clark, E. Brian Dobbins, Tracy Oliver, Tim Story and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett. Perkins serves as co-producer, with Vicky Story serving as associate producer.
The deal was brokered by Constantine, John Biondo, Grace Duplissea and Eda Kowan on behalf of Lionsgate.