Acclaimed director Chad Stahelski, best known for the wildly popular “John Wick” film series, has signed a major deal with Lionsgate that will see him direct the “Highlander” reimagining as his next film and assume creative oversight of both the “Highlander” and “John Wick” franchises across film, television, and all multimedia platforms, the studio announced on Tuesday.
The deal formalizes the existing partnership between Stahelski and Lionsgate, and gives the director an unprecedented level of creative control over the two properties. Stahelski will work with Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee of Thunder Road Productions on the “John Wick” projects, and Neal H. Moritz and the estate of late producer Peter S. Davis on the reimagining of the 1986 fantasy film “Highlander.”
“This deal expands on the great creative relationship we already have in place on ‘John Wick’ and extends it to our ‘Highlander’ franchise,” Joe Drake, the outgoing chair of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and Adam Fogelson, chair of the MPG, said in a statement.
“From the outset, Chad has been the creative force defining the world of Wick; as we continue to think about the future for that world, we want Chad, working together with Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee of Thunder Road, as our stewards guiding us and strategizing together at every step. This deal makes it official, and we look forward to his steady hand and creative input not just on the film he is making, but other stories that arise from it. He is a true visionary, and we are thrilled to have him in our corner.”
“I am pleased to be able to grow my relationship with Lionsgate in this new oversight role for the ‘John Wick’ universe and its further expansion,” Stahelski added. “‘John Wick’ is so close to my heart and to be able to continue shepherding it will be a blast for me. I’m so happy to also be launching another franchise with Highlander, a world that is so rich with engaging stories to be told.”
Stahelski’s sharp direction and visceral style have become synonymous with the massively successful “John Wick” series. All four films have proven both commercial hits and critical darlings, with the latest entry, “John Wick: Chapter 4,” becoming the highest grossing of the series at over $440 million worldwide.
The sequel also earned a sterling 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the best reviews yet for the franchise. Beyond directing, Stahelski is expanding his creative output by executive producing the upcoming “John Wick” spinoff “Ballerina” starring Ana de Armas and directed by Len Wiseman, as well as the Lionsgate Television series “The Continental” for Amazon and Peacock, the latter of which broke platform records upon release last year.
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