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Dave Bautista Sci-Fi Adventure ‘Universe’s Most Wanted’ Acquired by STX

Brad Peyton-directed film seeks to begin production in Melbourne, Australia in July

STXfilms has acquired the rights to “Universe’s Most Wanted,” a sci-fi adventure starring Dave Bautista and directed by “Rampage” filmmaker Brad Peyton.

The film comes from AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance and is currently in pre-production. Filming hopes to begin in Melbourne, Australia in July. STX will release “Universe’s Most Wanted” in the U.S., the UK and India.

In “Universe’s Most Wanted,” a small town gets a big surprise when a spaceship carrying the universe’s most wanted and dangerous criminals crash lands in their backyard. Soon the sheriff and his son become heroes when they find themselves helping an intergalactic peacekeeper (Bautista) to keep the ragtag group of alien prisoners from escaping and taking over the world. F. Scott Frazier and Jimmy Loweree wrote the screenplay.

Peyton is directing and producing the film through his ASAP Entertainment alongside Jeff Fierson, and Bautista will also produce through his banner Dream Bros Entertainment alongside Jonathan Meisner. The film will also be produced by AGC Studios’ Stuart Ford. AGC’s Miguel Palos Jr. and Linda McDonough are executive producing alongside Carsten Lorenz.

Roadshow Films and McMahon International will provide local production services, with Roadshow also distributing the film in Australia and New Zealand. The production is supported by Film Victoria.

STX previously acquired AGC Studios’ “Queenpins,” a comedy starring Kristen Bell, and Bautista is also returning to the studio after working on the film “My Spy,” which is currently being developed as a sequel.

“When I first read Scott and Jimmy’s script, I was sold, as it’s the exact type of big, fun sci-fi tentpole I’ve been looking to do,” Peyton said. “What struck me the most was how much heart it had and how much nostalgia it triggered. It reminds me of the great Amblin movies of my childhood. Dave agreeing to play the lead was the icing on the cake.”

Peyton’s crew for “Universe’s Most Wanted” includes director of photography Ross Emery, production designer Barry Chusid and VFX supervisor Colin Strause.

The film’s rights were acquired from AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance. CAA represents Peyton and Bautista.