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‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal.

“David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident that this summer’s Hobbs & Shaw will build on their impressive track record of bringing bold, high-quality entertainment to giant global audiences, and we are excited to formalize our long-standing relationship with them at Universal.”

The deal comes on the heels of the most recent “Hobbs & Shaw” trailer, dropped to much praise last Wednesday. 87North is producing the pic with Leitch directing and the tentpole is looked at as one of Universal’s most highly anticipated releases of 2019 (it opens Aug. 2). Even though the production was the biggest of Leitch’s career, sources say the smooth shoot helped convince Universal to approach Leitch and McCormick about a deal that would keep them and the newly formed company in the Universal family for the foreseeable future.

Leitch has shown an affinity for action pics like “John Wick,” “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2,” and the studio hopes that this deal leads to more action-packed titles filling Universal’s future slate. It also gives the chance for Leitch to help guide other up and coming directors who work in the same vein.

Universal has acted quickly to set up some of these future projects by acquiring the rights to the action pic “Nobody” from STX. Leitch and McCormick will produce the action thriller, which had already been previously announced when STX set it up with “Hardcore Henry” helmer Ilya Naishuller directing and Bob Odenkirk starring. There is also “Friday Black,” based on the title story of the New York Times bestseller, from award-winning author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, on which the duo are also producers.

“Donna, Peter and the amazing team at Universal have been such great partners to work with on Atomic Blonde and now Hobbs & Shaw,” McCormick and Leitch said in a joint statement. “Through our new company 87North Productions, we are thrilled to be extending this special working relationship to continue to make movies that we are passionate about in any genre.”

Leitch and McCormick are represented by WME and attorney Tara Kole.

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