Studio to revisit genre with 'Lives'

WWE Studios will revisit the horror genre with “No One Lives,” a co-production with Pathe U.K. that will star Luke Evans (“The Three Musketeers,” “Immortals”), with Ryuhei Kitamura (“Midnight Meat Train”) directing.

The pair-up with Pathe reps WWE’s first major co-financing and production pact since deciding to fund its own slate of movies independently in early 2010.

WWE Studios’ initial plans were to produce about nine films in Louisiana through 2012 with budgets of around $5 million. It’s already released “Legendary,” “Knucklehead,” “The Chaperone” and “That’s What I Am,” with “Inside Out,” “Family Reunion,” “Bending the Rules” and “Barricade” up next, receiving limited theatrical runs through Samuel Goldwyn Films before getting a heavy push on homevid.

“No One Lives” would be WWE’s first horror title since “See No Evil” in 2006, after the company opted to lean more toward a family friendly PG rating for most of its content.

WWE athletes continue to be featured in supporting roles rather than as the stars. “That’s What I Am” stars Ed Harris, for example.

Plot for the horror pic, penned by David Cohen, revolves around a ruthless gang that takes a young couple hostage in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. When the captive girl is killed, the tables are unexpectedly turned, and the gang finds itself outsmarted by a seasoned killer.

Evans plays one of the villains.

WWE is looking to produce a growing slate of films that it can sell through homevideo channels but also play on a cable channel it’s looking to launch next year.

Pathe approached WWE with “No One Lives” after seeing that the company already had a production crew in place in Lousiana that could tackle the project. Production starts there June 13.

“WWE Studios maintains a fexible business model that allows us to seek out partners to co-finance, produce and distribute flms of all genres to appeal to our fans’ wide array of film tastes,” said Michael Luisi, exec VP of business development, WWE.

Producers include Elton Brand and Harry Knapp for Milk & Media and Kami Naghdi for Constance Media and WWE Studios’ Mike Pavone.

Pathe will handle foreign sales starting this week in Cannes. Its films are distribbed theatrically through 20th Century Fox, which also handles homevid and TV distribution deals. Pathe will release the pic in France, with Fox handling the U.K. and other territories.

Pathe, which produced “Slumdog Millionaire” and last year’s “127 Hours,” with Fox, is behind Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Iron Lady,” based on the life of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and starring Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent.

Cohen is repped by ICM and Generate’s Jeremy Platt.

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