Roth, Newman, Studio Canal reunite on genre follow-up

“The Last Exorcism” creators Eli Roth, Eric Newman and Paris-based StudioCanal are reteaming on a genre follow-up, suspense pic “Psycho Killer,” written by “Seven” scribe Andrew Kevin Walker.

Pic will mark the directorial debut of “Zombieland” producer Gavin Polone.

Roth and Newman, who brought the project to StudioCanal, will produce. Like “Exorcism,””Killer” will be fully financed by StudioCanal.

The European production, distribution and sales operation will also sell worldwide rights, initiating its sales campaign at the American Film Market.

StudioCanal will distribute directly via its production-distrib divisions in France, the U.K. and Germany: the U.K.’s Optimum Releasing, Germany’s Kinowelt and StudioCanal itself in France.

It’s the story of a nameless, masked murderer who leaves a trail of victims across the U.S. In a chance encounter on the plains of Nebraska, he kills a highway patrolman. The only witness, the patrolman’s young wife — also an officer — sets out to hunt the killer down.

According to Polone, the first 20% of the film accompanies the serial killer. Pic then follows the paths of killer and officer until they converge.

“Killer” is starting casting for a late spring shoot in Michigan. StudioCanal head of international acquisition and production Ron Halpern said producers will seek a femme lead who is somebody audiences know but not a big star.

Costing under $2 million, “The Last Exorcism” grossed $41 million at the U.S. box office this summer.

Halpern said “Killer” is “a bigger movie, not a ‘found footage’ film,” with a budget in the mid-teens.

“When people read the name ‘Psycho Killer’ from the creators of ‘Seven’ and ‘Hostel,’ they know they are in for an intense ride, but one that will be smart and original,” added Roth, calling “Killer” an “elevated, uncompromised, R-rated thriller.”

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