A feature film based on comic-book scribe Ashley Wood’s (“Lore,” “World War Robot”) property “Popbot” is being presented to international buyers this week at the American Film Market.
High-budget comic-book projects have long been the domain of Hollywood studios but the marketing of "Popbot" at AFM means that a significant property in that genre is out to the independents instead. It is unusual for projects budgeted at over $50 million to go this route.
The producers, Australia’s Resolution Independent, are looking to find partners for the studio-level feature, budgeted at $80 million to $100 million.
Pete Ford, the company’s founder, and Wayne Dubard, the former president of Warner Bros. International, now an advisor to Resolution, are also looking at studio partners for the project, which they aim to make, using Australia’s off-set financing scheme for producers.
This scheme provides up to 40 percent of a film’s budget to producers that qualify.
“The government has not put a limit on how much they are making available through this scheme and people are not taking big enough advantage of it, or are simply sticking to smaller films. But we want to use it to make studio level, as well as smaller films,” said Ford, who is a comic-book writer turned producer of films including “Storm Warning,” which was released by Dimension Films and The Weinstein Company.
Altogether, Resolution is presenting a slate of four films at the AFM, including the modern-day pirate project “High Seas” and “Winter of the Dead,” Russia’s first zombie movie.
The company is also partnering with Nikolai Pigarev, the director of “Winter of the Dead” to create “Cold Patrol,” an arctic-set action film about an elite military dogsled team based in the arctic wilderness. They are also developing the sci-fi project “Wynter Dark.” The company has decided to release the project first as a comic book next year, in order to gage fan reaction, before going ahead with the film.
Excerpts from the upcoming comic book have so far gathered a huge following on the Internet. Barry Sonnenfeld recently signed on to direct “Lore” for Warner Bros. Ashley Wood/Chris Ryall’s comic book is also the basis for an upcoming film to be produced by Michael Bay.