Universal has picked up the college comedy Rogue Scholars and an untitled project, both of which are currently being scripted by, and will star the Broken Lizard comedy group -- Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske.
Motion Picture Corporation of America will co-finance both pics. MPCA's Brad Krevoy, Mike Callaghan and Reuben Liber and Broken Lizard Industries' Richard Perello have partnered to produce.
While the comedy group's low-budget fare like Club Dread, Super Troopers, Beerfest, and their most recent release The Slammin' Salmon, aren't strong box-office performers, they have developed a loyal core audience through their strong DVD sales.
But MPCA plans to bring Broken Lizard to a broader audience with both upcoming projects. MPCA certainly has the resume to do so, producing flicks like including Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin and Beverly Hills Ninja.
Rogue Scholars centers around five unruly professors, and will look to reach three generations of comedy fans by casting college-aged funnymen as the students, the Broken Lizard members as the teachers and an older generation as the administration. Details for the second project are being kept under wraps.
Krevoy told THR:
Every five to 10 years, there's a new group that comes to the fore in the comedy world. If you look at their body of work and see that they understand modern comedy, they are ready for that breakout. We want to expand them out of their core audience into a four-quadrant audience. They are worth the commitment to get these films made.
I love most of Broken Lizards films, I think they have the ability, and deserve more commercial success, not that there's any guarantee. But either way, it's a sure bet for Universal, and Broken Lizard has a real chance to break into the "mainstream."