CBS Films to Distribute The Mechanic starring Jason Statham

CBS Films may have only started producing films this year with Extraordinary Measures, The Back-Up Plan and the fall release Faster, but its first acquisition of a finished film gives me hope that the studio knows what audiences want to see. Deadline reports that CBS Films paid to hold their own research screening of the finished film to see how it would play with audiences.

In The Mechanic, Jason Statham stars as a hitman who trains an apprentice who has a connection to one of his mentor’s victims. Simon West (Con Air) directs and Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland co-star. The film was produced by Millennium Films, a company founded by Avi Lerner, that produces a number of flicks starring the action stars of ’80s and ’90s. Together with his other company, Nu Image, Lerner has built a small empire in the wake of Cannon Films, a studio that specialized in action cinema of the ’80s with movies like Cobra, Invasion U.S.A. and Bloodsport. Lerner produced the bloody and violent Rambo and also financed this summer’s The Expendables, which is being released by Lionsgate.

In a statement CBS Films prexy/CEO Amy Baer said that “the right acquisitions have always been a part of our plan and in The Mechanic we have a strong intelligent action thriller.” Produced by Irwin Winkler (Rocky, Goodfellas), he will next turn his attention to Trespass, the Joel Schumacher drama that has Nicolas Cage starring alongside Nicole Kidman. You may recall that Cage had reportedly dropped out of the film but has come back. I guess his accountant tweeted him an update about his bank account.

Well, considering that The Mechanic has got Jason Statham starring, my foot is in the door already. The addition of Ben Foster, who was a total bad-ass in 3:10 to Yuma, also amps my curiosity in wanting to see this. The timetable of its inevitable release is not yet known. It better be sooner rather than later.

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