Neill Blomkamp committed to direct next sci-fi film

Media Rights Capital has committed to the next film by "District 9" writer-director Neill Blomkamp. The untitled sci-fier will begin production by the middle of next year. Bill Block will produce. by Michael Fleming

Block, the chief exec of QED, was first to commit funding to "District 9" before Sony's Worldwide Acquisitions Group acquired the film based on a Blomkamp-created graphic novel. "District 9," which Blomkamp helmed under the guidance of Peter Jackson, became a breakout summer hit for Sony and established the South African-born filmmaker.

MRC chief exec Modi Wiczyk and MRC Films prexy Tory Metzger committed to the new project on the basis of Blomkamp's pitch.

MRC is giving Blomkamp creative freedom and a production commitment that isn't contingent on domestic distribution. The director and Block will get an ownership stake in the finished product.

"MRC is letting me make the film I want to make, and that is by far the most important thing here," Blomkamp told Daily Variety. "The film will hopefully be commercial, but it is very much a singular film, (one) that comes directly from me."

Blomkamp will immediately start writing and preparing the visual effects. The film will be modest by sci-fi standards, but it will certainly cost more than "District 9," which was budgeted under $30 million and grossed more than $184 million worldwide.

MRC will shop for a distributor around the time the picture goes into production.

Wiczyk called Blomkamp "a ferociously independent" multihyphenate who "set a high bar" for himself with "District 9."

"Some of the most brilliant filmmakers have worked in sci-fi, and Neill made his film with less money than most of them," Wiczyk said.

Blomkamp is repped by WME.

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