FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), the commercial and brand extension arm of FremantleMedia, today announced it has acquired the rights to Universal Soldier, the hit movie franchise, rebooting it as a major new global television property. It will be written by Damian Kindler (“Stargate”, “Sanctuary”) and produced by FremantleMedia North America.
David Ellender, Global CEO, FremantleMedia Enterprises, said: “Universal Soldier is FME’s first foray into the sci-fi action genre, further diversifying our growing drama portfolio and underlining our reputation as one of the industry’s leading developers, co-producers and distributors of globally popular, high-quality scripted content.”
Allen Shapiro and Craig Baumgarten, who will executive produce the series, said: “We’ve long wanted to come up with a bold new way of updating Universal Soldier. We’re thrilled to team up with FremantleMedia and are sure that the millions of fans who loved the movie will now welcome it into their living rooms.”
FremantleMedia Enterprises, which acquired the rights to “Universal Soldier” from The IndieProd Company and Craig Baumgarten, will now take the project to international buyers.
Allan Shapiro is Chairman of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com, which are part of a joint venture of Lionsgate, the leading next generation studio. He was also a Founder and President of Mosaic Media Group, a talent management, production and investment company. He previously served as President / CEO of The IndieProd Company, which produced numerous films and TV shows, including Universal Soldier, Air America, Blue Streak, L.A. Story and Roxanne.
Craig Baumgarten is a highly successful independent producer, whose films include “Hook”, “Shattered Glass”, “The Order”, “Never Back Down” and “Universal Soldier”. Prior to forming his own production company, he served as Vice President of Paramount Pictures, Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures, a President at Lorimar and Executive Vice President at Twentieth Century Fox pictures. Some of the films he supervised during this period were the hits “9 Weeks”, “The Karate Kid”,” St Elmo’s Fire”, “The Abyss” and “Endless Love”. Among his TV credits is the multi award-winning production of A Streetcar Named Desire; the highly-acclaimed CBS series Michael Hayes, starring David Caruso; and TNT’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Salma Hayek and Richard Harris.
A “Universal Soldier” TV series originally happened back in 1998 and 1999 and a fourth “Universal Soldider” film titled “Universal Soldier: New Dimension” will be out next year with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren returning in their roles with Scott Adkins also starring.