Good Machine is once again being courted by several corporate suitors interested in marrying up with the decade-old New York production and sales operation that is currently enjoying its most successful year yet. So far, however, Good Machine's three partners are resisting that final walk down the wedding aisle.
"There have been a substantial number of companies that have actively engaged us in discussions," confirmed Good Machine co-founder James Schamus. "But, in all honesty, I can say we have as yet refused to enter into exclusive negotiations with anyone."
Although not confirmed, one of Good Machine's wooers is thought to be Intermedia, another production and sales force which has now embarked on an aggressive expansion drive following its merger with German media fund Pacifica and subsequent listing of their combined company on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt. Both Intermedia and Good Machine's sales division Good Machine International (GMI) are in already talks to jointly acquire international sales rights to the Nicolas Cage-starrer, Adaptation. The $25m comedy is to be directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman, the same combo responsible for Being John Malkovich, and is set to be released by Sony Pictures in the US.
Under the proposed deal, Intermedia and GMI will individually sell certain international territories on Adaptation and work jointly together on others.
As for which other potential companies might be interested in partnering with Good Machine, a company with an enviable track record for nurturing new talent and able to finance its films through a credit line and relationships across a wide spectrum of distributors, there have been no shortage of rumours. Both Interscope Communications and Lakeshore Entertainment (currently without a sales chief following the departure of Peter Rogers) have been bandied about within industry circles in recent months. That said, Good Machine has an historical habit of playing hard to get, having a few years ago also rebuffed known approaches by both Paramount and USA Films, among others.
Not coincidentally perhaps, all this sudden attention comes as Good Machine is enjoying box office success with Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a film that opened extremely well in France and is seen now as a hot bet for a best picture Oscar nomination for its US distributor Sony Pictures Classics.
Sales at GMI, which was formed five years ago under president David Linde, have also been brisk with a flurry of deals concluded ahead of the London Screenings. One of its most recent slate additions, Brad Anderson's satirical Series 7, was picked up by Senator Films in Germany, RCV in the Benelux, Lucky Red in Italy, Film Four Distribution in the UK and Pasatiempo for Eastern Europe. In addition, Todd Solondz's new untitled project which GMI co-financed with New Line Cinema, was taken by distributors in 20 territories, among them the UK's Entertainment, Diaphana in France, Constantin in Germany and Village Roadshow in Australia. And Joel and Ethan Coen's The Barber Movie, sold through GMI's continuing relationship with USA Films, continues to be picked up by the top distributors overseas. Latest buyers include the UK's Entertainment, Asmik/Ace in Japan, GalaFilm in the Czech Republic, FilmCooperative in Switzerland, Shani Films in Israel and Shaw Renters in Singapore among others.
Another USA production, One Night At McCool's starring Michael Douglas, has now sold out across the globe, following final deals with Medusa in Italy, Pasatiempo for Hungary, HanMac in Korea and Era in Taiwan.
Just last week, Good Machine also announced that it had sold the French, German, Swiss and Italian distribution rights to Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien to 20th Century Fox International.