Hot off the staggering success of Get Out, which now stands as the highest-grossing debut ever for a writer-director working from an original screenplay, Jordan Peele and his Monkeypaw Productions have signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures, where he has set his next project. Peele will write, direct and produce an untitled social thriller for the studio that is based on his own original idea, it was announced Wednesday.
Universal staved off a major push from Warner Bros., which had been courting Peele to direct one of its long-gestating development projects such as Akira, The Flash and Uptown Saturday Night. WB was hardly the only studio interested in working with Peele, though in the end, the filmmaker chose to remain loyal to Universal chief Donna Langley and the studio that helped Get Out gross more than $194 million worldwide — in February, no less.
“Through extraordinary imagination and fearless humor, Jordan has proven himself to be a game-changer who is driven to tell stories that are as commercially entertaining as they are disruptive and provocative,” said Langley. “The entire Universal family takes great pride in his incomparable filmmaking debut, and feel fortunate that this studio will be Jordan’s home for many years to come.”
The deal calls for Peele to produce a wide range of films for Universal, including several micro-budget projects on which he will partner with his Get Out producer Jason Blum. Peele will be working with a significantly larger budget than Get Out on his next film, though it will still have a modest price tag of around $25 million.
“I’m incredibly honored to be partnering with Donna, Peter and all of the brilliant folks at Universal,” said Peele. “I am thrilled to continue the work we started together on Get Out—pushing the boundaries of storytelling, not only on the next film but with all of Monkeypaw’s future projects.”
Monkeypaw Productions was founded by Peele in 2012 with the aim to tell stories in comedy, horror and all genres in-between, and to give platforms to untapped voices in those mediums. Monkeypaw produced the New Line comedy Keanu, and on the TV side, the company produced Key & Peele for Comedy Central, and has an upcoming Tracy Morgan sitcom at TBS.
Peele co-created and starred in the Emmy-winning sketch series Key & Peele, which amassed more than 1 billion online hits and won a Peabody Award, an American Comedy Award, and earned 12 Emmy nominations during its five-season run. Peele also recurred on the FX series Fargo and was a series regular on FOX’s MADtv, where he received an Emmy nomination for songwriting.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief