Killer Films,the prolific New York-based production company which is synonymous with theindependent film movement of the 1990s, has signed a one year, first-look dealwith Warner Bros Pictures. The deal is primarily for films in the $10m to $25mrange such as Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven or Mark Romanek's One HourPhoto which cost $15mand $12m respectively to produce.
The arrangementsees Killer's fiercely independent partners - Christine Vachon, PamKoffler and Katie Roumel - supplying a studio which is well-known for itsfranchises such as The Matrix and Harry Potter series, its ultra-corporate approach to film-making and closeties with establishment west coast film-makers like Joel Silver and ClintEastwood.
Killer andWarner Bros came together through John Wells, the heavyweight TV and filmproducer whose Warner-based John Wells Productions struck an overhead anddevelopment deal with Killer in early 2000. Wells, who is also involved as aproducer in two other films screening at Toronto this week (The Good Thief and White Oleander), takes executive producer credits onthe Killer films. The Warner deal expands on the existing relationship betweenKiller and John Wells Productions which remains in place.
Ironically thenews of the deal comes the day after Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who godfatheredthe Killer deal, stepped down from his role as production head at the studio.Di Bonaventura had long flirted with the idea of starting a specializeddivision at the studio and struck a deal with FilmFour which saw only wartimeperiod piece Charlotte Gray supplied to the studio. Meanwhile Warner's sister studio NewLine Cinema continues to operate its own specialized arm Fine Line Featuresunder Mark Ordesky; Fine Line has been quiet of late, and once its next twopictures - Ripley's Game and Invincible - are released, it will have run out of inventory.
Meanwhile Killercontinues to produce at a prodigious rate. Far From Heaven has beenwell-received at the Venice Film Festival, completed but yet to be released areTim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone (Lions Gate) and Rose Troche's The Safety OfObjects (IFC Films), inproduction are Party Monster starring Macauley Culkin and Chloe Sevigny, Camp, a musical co-produced with Jersey Filmsand IFC Productions, and in development are projects with Robert Altman andJohn Waters among others.
Killer's trackrecord is virtually a roll-call of key independent movies of the last decade- Poison, Safe, Happiness, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Boys Don'tCry, I Shot Andy Warhol, Velvet Goldmine, Storytelling, Swoon, Kids, Go Fish and Stonewall.
The Killer/Warnerdeal was brokered by the studio with John Sloss and CAA acting for Vachon.