Ashok Amritraj and David Hoberman's Hyde Park Entertainment has unveiled its debut slate of pictures set up at its two alternate partner studios MGM and The Walt Disney Co, with one film placed with Sony Pictures' mid-budget range division Screen Gems.
Among the stars already set for the pictures are Bruce Willis, Wesley Snipes, Cate Blanchett, Tim Robbins and Billy Bob Thornton.
Hyde Park was launched last year teaming up Amritraj, a co-founder of Franchise Pictures, and Hoberman, a former Disney president of production and well-known producer of hits such as George Of The Jungle and The Negotiator.
Through its subsequently completed first look distribution deal with MGM and second look deal with Disney, the studio takes rights in North America, UK, Australia, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Epsilon, the buying alliance between Germany's Kirch Group and Italy's Mediaset that used to known as Eureka, signed on to take all continental European rights to the films.
Amritraj said that on the initial slate, in many cases the studio partner will also take Japan - MGM has Japan on Anti-Trust, for example - although it will be open to negotiation on each picture. Hyde Park recently closed a slew of two- or three-year output deals in smaller territories - with Warner Nu Metro in South Africa, with Forum Film in Israel, Almassa Art in the Middle East, Samfilm in Iceland and Acqua Pinema in Turkey.
For MGM, which under its new management team, is aggressively building a slate of new pictures itself, the Hyde Park deal is a perfect fit, complementing other co-financing ventures with Miramax Films and Universal Pictures. "Alex Yemenidjian [MGM chairman and CEO], Chris McGurk [MGM vice chairman and COO] and Michael Nathanson [president of MGM Pictures] have been extremely supportive of us, as have Disney," Amritraj and Hoberman told SI yesterday.
The opening slate is as follows:
- Anti-Trust (MGM), which is nearing the end of principal photography, is a thriller about a computer whiz hired by the world's biggest computer company who discovers that it is killing hackers. Amritraj and Hoberman are executive producers; Keith Addis and Nick Wechsler are producers. Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) directs. Ryan Phillippe, Tim Robbins, Rachael Leigh Cook and Claire Forlani star.
- Outlaws (MGM) is a comedy actioner teaming Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton as two ex-cons who become overnight celebrities by robbing banks in a very alternative manner. Cate Blanchett co-stars as the woman they both fall for. Oscar winner Barry Levinson will direct; Amritraj, Hoberman, Paula Weinstein, Michael Birnbaum, Michele Berk and David Willis are producers. Harley Peyton wrote the screenplay. Shooting is set to start in September.
- Extractors (MGM) will be directed by Christian Duguay (the forthcoming Art Of War) and is the story of a an escaped convict who breaks into prisons and breaks out prisoners for the right price. Hoberman and Amritraj will produce; screenplay is by James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox who co-wrote The Negotiator for Hoberman. Shooting is set for the second half of the year.
- Fast Flash To Bang Time (Screen Gems). Hyde Park struck a deal with Screen Gems to co-finance this actioner which will come in at between $20m and $30m. Screen Gems which will release it domestically; Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group will handle the same territories available outside the Hyde Park territories. Wesley Snipes will star - his Amen Ra Productions is a co-producer - as a crack-addicted FBI agent who must prevent a terrorist attack and overcome his addiction at the same time. Gary Fleder (Impostor, Kiss The Girls) will direct; Amritraj, Hoberman, Peter Iliff, Kimiko Fox and Fleder will produce. Shooting is set for September.
- Pretty Ugly aka Passionate Kiss (Walt Disney). Hyde Park's first collaboration with Disney is a comedy about a handsome ladies man whose ex-girlfriend puts a curse on him and turns him into an overweight and ugly man whose only hope to return to normal is to win her back in his unattractive form. Screenplay is by David Dorfman, producers are Hoberman, Amritraj and Robert Solo.
- Man With The X-Ray Eyes (MGM) is a remake of the 1963 Roger Corman picture about a scientist who develops a drug that enables the user to see through objects. Amritraj and Hoberman will produce alongside Lou Arkoff, son of the original film's executive producer Samuel Z Arkoff.
Also in development:
- Purgatory, an action picture written by Daniel Voll
- Ump, a comedy about a hitman trying to go straight which is currently being rewritten by Harley Peyton (Outlaws)
- Teargarden, which is being written by Twin Falls Idaho team Mark and Michael Polish, is the story of an inmate at a mental institution who forms a band with the inmates.
- Jailbabe.com, a comedy written by newcomer Jason Filardi