Following his departure from Beacon Communications recently, producer Marc Abraham has started a new production outfit called Strike Entertainment alongside his former Beacon COO Thomas Bliss and former Beacon senior vice president of development Eric Newman. The three are partners in the new company which has struck a four-year, first-look deal with Universal Pictures.

Strike will co-finance, develop and produce films with Universal, while housing its own in-house development, production and business affairs divisions. Bliss is a well-known face with international buyers and while at Beacon he engineered international finance for some of the market's most sought after pictures such as Spy Game, 13 Days, The Hurricane, Bring It On and The Family Man not to mention a deal with BVI on Air Force One. The perception of Beacon by buyers was that the company was offering star-driven studio pictures that were neither studio cast-offs nor projects in turnaround. Bliss will again seek international financing for Strike's pictures and will be at Cannes to initiate discussions with potential partners.

Universal's presidents of production Scott Stuber and Mary Parent said that their first priority was to keep Abraham at Universal. "His artistic sensibilities always result in quality projects with arresting and provocative content, and we're delighted that Marc and his team have formed this exciting new company," they said in a statement.

Abraham recently produced The Emperor's Club (formerly The Palace Thief) starring Kevin Kline and Tuck Everlasting for The Walt Disney Company with Ben Kingsley, William Hurt and Sissy Spacek.

Along with his former partner Armyan Bernstein, Abraham produced or executive produced all of Beacon's recent hits including Air Force One, The Family Man, Bring It On, The Hurricane, For Love Of The Game and Spy Game. Abraham and Bliss also spearheaded the formation of Beacon Records which released more than a dozen soundtracks.