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Universal Resurrects 'Mummy' Franchise For DTV Sequel

17 Oct, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Michael Copon ("One Tree Hill") stars.

Having tapped into its “American Pie” franchise for three very successful direct-to-video sequels, Universal Studios Home Entertainment now is casting its eye toward “The Mummy.”

The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian, a prequel to the third “Mummy” film, will be released sometime next year under the division's DVD Originals banner. It's the first action-adventure release in the line, which in the past has focused on comedies.

Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms, said the film “expands on the DVD Originals strategy of creating and aggressively marketing high-quality made-for-DVD sequels to beloved Universal franchises.”

“We are confident this thrilling action adventure will take our DVD Originals strategy to the next level, while setting a new industry standard for made-for-DVD offerings,” he said.

The Scorpion King: Rise of Akkadian is a precursor to The Scorpion King, the 2002 summer theatrical hit that starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Mathayus, the fearsome warrior king of an ancient desert empire. The new production tells the story of how young Mathayus rose to become the Scorpion King.

The film is being shot entirely in South Africa — principal photography began earlier this month in Capetown — and stars upstart Michael Copon (a former Power Ranger best known for his role on television's “Beyond the Break”) as the young Mathayus. The film also features Simon Quarterman as Ari, Karen David as Layla, Ralf Moeller as the warrior Pollux and Ultimate Fighting Championship king Randy Couture as the villain Sargon.

The film is being directed by Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction, Highlander) and was written by Russell McCormick (Speed 2, Titan A.E. ). Universal Studios Home Entertainment is co-producing with Film Afrika and ApolloMovie.

The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian is by far our most ambitious DVD Original production ever in terms of the scope and quality of the sets, the visual effects, the fight sequences and the stunt work,” said Glenn Ross, executive VP and general manager of Universal Studios Home Entertainment Family Productions.

“Because of the remarkable success of the DVD Originals product line, we are committed to producing a diverse slate of films based on proven franchises to help satisfy the growing demand for high quality entertainment on DVD.”

Universal's DVD Originals brand was launched in September 2005 with the release of Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, a belated sequel to the 1993 theatrical hit Carlito's Way that has sold 1.5 units. Next came American Pie Presents: Band Camp, which sold more than 1 million units in the first week following its Dec. 26, 2005 release. The title has since sold more than 2 million units and is the top-selling live-action, non-family direct-to-video title of all time.

Also in the top five, from Universal: American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile, No. 2; Bring It On: All or Nothing, No. 4; and Bring It On Again, No. 5.

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