Lionsgate gearing up for another search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Elfthe longest-running franchise in Lionsgate’s history, will get a fresh start as the studio reimagines the horror title for a new generation of moviegoers.
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Felipe Vargas, director of the award-winning short film Deciduous teethwill helm the new feature film project which has a script by Mike Van Waes, who worked on the live action Lilo & Stitch film currently in production.
Roy Lee, one of the mainstays of Hollywood horror whose credits include Barbaric and the He films, will produce through its Vertigo Entertainment banner. The company’s Miri Yoon will also produce.
Elf was praised by low-budget home entertainment producer Trimark Pictures who made the first film in 1993 starring Warwick Davis as a shoe-shining leprechaun, protector of gold and giver of revenge. The film became notable for featuring Jennifer Aniston in her film debut, but it also became a surprise theatrical earner, launching a franchise that spanned three decades. Davis played the cunning pixie in six movies but skipped the last two, in 2014 Sprite: Origins and 2018 The return of the leprechaun. Davis is not expected to reprise the role for the new iteration.
The films became part of Lionsgate in 2000 when the company acquired Trimark, making the cult low-budget series in print something that predates local franchises such as Saw, The hunger GamesAnd John Wick. The films have shown enduring popularity and Syfy Network runs a Elf St. Patrick’s Day marathon every day.
“Thirty years after its debut, this franchise is still casting a spell, and we’re thrilled to bring it back with a new vision,” Erin Westerman, president of production for Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, said in a statement. “Roy and Miri are two of our most reliable producers, especially with this genre, and we’re excited about Felipe’s vision for the film as a director. In his hands, this movie should be very scary and very fun.
Meredith Wieck and Jon Humphrey will oversee Lionsgate.
Vargas Shorts Deciduous teeth tells the story of a boy in an orphanage who sparks a tooth-splitting frenzy among his fellow orphans when he finds a creature that trades coins for teeth. Teeth was a hit on the festival circuit, winning a DGA Student Film Award and an Imagen Award and winning an award at the Fantasia Film Festival.
Vargas is currently set to direct his first feature film Rosario in Colombia. He is replaced by CAA, Magnolia Entertainment and Gang Tire.
Van Waes, who is also an author and wrote the novel peevesreplaced by CAA, Grandview and Goodman, Genow.
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