“Digital audiences are devouring horror films and sports entertainment so it only seemed natural to create content that caters to both passions, at the same time,” said Van Toffler, CEO and co-founder of Gunpowder & Sky.
The films, dubbed “sporror” as a new genre, will be set in and star celebrities from the world of sports. “Lucky Number,” to be written by Aaron Cooley (“Shaken Not Stirred”), centers around a pro basketball superstar who must pay up on a deal he made with the devil, transforming into the most athletic — and frightening — killer in cinematic history.
“Mike Tollin and I go back to 1999 when we made ‘Varsity Blues’ together so I’m happy to be working with him again — not to mention Dick Glover, maestro of all great things at ‘Funny Or Die,'” Toffler said.
Tollin and Jon Weinbach, Mandalay Sports Media’s executive VP, are executive producers on the project, with Toffler serving as exec producer for Gunpowder & Sky. The companies are currently meeting with potential directors.
“There are few places more frightening than a dark, empty arena, and the sports landscape is full of strange and authentically frightening characters,” said Weinbach. “We’ve never seen a mash-up between horror and sports, where everything from a hockey skate to a nacho cheese vat can be dangerous – or even deadly.”
Mandalay Sports Media is a producer on IFC’s “Chuck,” starring Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Elisabeth Moss and Ron Perlman. Its NFL Network series, “Undrafted,” was recently nominated for its second Emmy Award for best documentary series. Netflix will premiere premiere MSM’s boxing documentary “CounterPunch” in June.
MSM is currently in production on two films for ESPN’s “30 for 30” franchise, and has also partnered with Frank Marshall to produce a five-episode documentary series for the International Olympic Committee’s global digital platform, the Olympic Channel.
Gunpowder & Sky acquired full control of Supergravity Pictures, the startup in which it had previously held a minority investment, earlier this year. G&S last fall acquired independent content sales and distribution company FilmBuff. The company was founded in 2015 by Toffler, former CEO of Viacom’s Music Group, and Floris Bauer, former head of corporate development and strategy at Endemol, together with Otter Media.
Gunpowder & Sky recently launched its international headquarters in London, under the leadership of former Endemol Shine executive, Randel Bryan. He will report to Bauer.