Resurrected UK horror brand Hammer Entertainment has partnered with FirstSight Films, the production outfit of Charles Sturridge, Francesca Barra and Selwyn Roberts, to make a slate of six films over the next three years.
The deal is the first step back into feature film production for Hammer after it was bought last year by an investment consortium headed by leading lights in the UK film, music, publishing and advertising sectors.
Hammer and FirstSight will be equal partners in the new series of films from the legendary horror stable, which stopped production in 1983. The partners aim to develop a series of films - both remakes of Hammer classics and fresh properties - and starting shooting them back-to-back next year using a lot of the same cast and crew. Sturridge, director of FairyTale: A True Story, is to have input across all the films and may direct some.
Terry Ilott, who heads finance and distribution at Hammer with Peter Naish, cited The Sixth Sense, What Lies Beneath and Sleepy Hollow as films "new Hammer" would aspire to as it steers away from the campness of such classics as The Curse Of Frankenstein and Dracula.
"Charles' involvement gives these films a seal of quality and shows where we are going in the future," Ilott said.
The group envisages teaming with a US studio and international distribution partners for its slate. Hammer is able to at least partly cover development costs through a library that generates up to £500,000 a year.