Robert De Niro and director Michael Caton-Jones are reteaming for true life crime epic City By The Sea - one of two new big budget pictures on offer from powerhouse indie supplier Franchise Pictures. Franchise is also backing the next picture written and to be directed by David Mamet - crime thriller Heist set to star Gene Hackman. Both films will be released domestically by Warner Bros.

Franchise co-developed City By The Sea with Warner and Brillstein/Grey Entertainment. Based on an Esquire magazine article entitled Mark Of A Murderer by Mike McAlary, it is the true story of a decorated New York police officer investigating a murder only to find that his son is the killer. The added twist is that the detective's father was also a criminal - executed for kidnapping a child. Caton-Jones, whose credits include Rob Roy and The Jackal, directed De Niro in This Boy's Life in 1995, a movie which gave a young Leonardo DiCaprio his big film break.

Heist, produced by Art Linson (Heat, Fight Club), is the story of three expert jewel thieves who pull off a grand heist but subsequently repeatedly double cross each other. Hackman will play the mastermind of the trio.