Lionsgate will release Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut, an original comedy titled “Good Fortune” that will star Ansari alongside Keanu Reeves and Seth Rogen.
Plot details are currently secret, but the film has been greenlit with principal photography beginning next month in Los Angeles. Along with starring in the film and producing it, Ansari will produce alongside Anthony Katagas and Alan Young.
Lionsgate will launch overseas sales at the Cannes Film Festival.
Lionsgate Film Group co-chair Joe Drake remarked: “We have indeed found good fortune with this film. We love the script and believe strongly in Aziz as both a performer and a director. And when you add in Seth and Keanu – two incredible world-class talents — toplining alongside Aziz, this has the potential to be a very special film for us. We moved quickly to land this project once it was available.”
At Lionsgate, the film will be overseen by Brady Fujikawa and Jon Humphrey. Dan Freedman, Phil Strina, John Biondo, and Matt Leonetti were instrumental in negotiating the deal for Lionsgate. Ansari is a seven-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner for Netflix’s acclaimed “Master of None,” which he created alongside Alan Yang. Best known for a starring role in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Ansari has previously starred in films like “30 Minutes or Less,” “Funny People” and “This Is the End.”
Ansari’s earlier attempt at a directorial debut, Searchlight’s “Being Mortal,” was shuttered mid-production amid allegations of inappropriate on-set behavior by co-star Bill Murray. The film has, at this present time, not restarted production.
Seth Rogen is coming off a scene-stealing vocal role as Donkey Kong in $700 million-plus grossing “The Super Mario Bros Movie.” He will soon be seen in the Apple TV+ series “Platonic” alongside “Neighbors” co-star Rose Byrne. Keanu Reeves is currently riding high with Lionsgate’s blockbuster action sequel “John Wick: Chapter 4,” which just passed $350 million worldwide at the global box office. Those two films rank first and third among Hollywood releases in 2023, with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” in second place with $474 million global.
The mere existence of “Good Fortune” on a theatrical level is encouraging. It is more evidence, alongside Lionsgate’s buzzy “Joy Ride” and upcoming releases like “No Hard Feelings” and “Strays” that Hollywood is at least trying at releasing live-action comedies in multiplexes again after a pre-COVID slump and a COVID-era near-absence.
Of course, studios releasing comedies in theaters is only half the battle. Audiences must make the choice to show up and vote with their wallet. Otherwise, they can’t complain when the next “Booksmart” or “Long Shot” ends up as a streaming-only premiere.