Helkon Media's sales, production and distribution arm Helkon International Pictures (HIP) has revealed the first fruits of its new LA operation under former Warner Bros executive Clifford Werber.
The company has boarded Anthony Waller's long-gestating $22m horror movie Nine Miles Down with Val Kilmer now attached to star and has picked up new pictures from producer Mitchell Robbins, Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Andrus and comic satire Chump Change which Miramax Films has picked up for domestic.
In addition, HIP has sold its family film Hansel & Gretel to Warner Bros which will release it theatrically in North America this year.
Nine Miles Down is Waller's third film after Mute Witness and An American Werewolf In Paris and will star Kilmer as a security expert and ex-cop sent to investigate a remote scientific research camp who becomes stranded there as malicious and supernatural events begin to happen. The movie, which will begin shooting in South Africa later this year, with Richard Claus (The Little Vampire) producing with Cometstone Pictures and Dutch financing entity Structurion. Everett DeRoche wrote the screenplay.
Beleagured Helkon, which was one of the victims of the Neuermarkt crash, has spent the last few months restructuring its debt and the whole company.
Managing director Christian Halsey Solomon said Helkon was now leaner, and buying films to feed its new distribution partner Solo Films, recently formed by Peter Heinzemann. "Luckily, we sold our films to RTL, ARD and ZDF and when we did sell to Premiere, we always collected," says Solomon. "It is truly advantageous to have direct distribution set-ups in the UK and Germany." However, the new films will not necessarily go to Helkon SK in the UK or to HIP's partners Eagle in Italy and Tri in Spain, explained Halsey Solomon and Werber, choosing to sell from scratch due to the diversity of the films.
Aside from Nine Miles Down, the new films are:
The M Word written by Andrus (As Good As It Gets, Life As A House) and produced by Jeff Shapiro is a wedding comedy about friendship, love, marriage and in-laws. The $25m project was formerly with Castle Rock Entertainment.
Slow Burn, written and directed by Wayne Beach (screenwriter of The Art Of War and Murder At 1600) is produced by Robbins, a well-known producer whose credits include XX/XY, Next Stop Wonderland and Squeeze. It tells the story of an assistant DA who becomes a suspect in a brutal murder.
The Big One-3 written and directed by Savage Steve Holland and produced by Matthew Rhodes, Bill Papariella and Andy Meyer is a kids comedy about the mayhem created at a children's 13th birthday party.
Chump Change, written, directed by and starring Stephen Burrows is a comedy picked up by Miramax for domestic and also starring Traci Lords, Tim Matheson, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara and Abe Vigoda in the story of the rise and fall of actor-writer and Hollywood hopeful Milwaukee Steve (Burrows).
The Warner Bros deal on Hansel & Gretel marks the first domestic sale for family pictures out of Helkon's HIP4Family unit. It stars Howie Mandel, Delta Burke and Dakota Fanning. The second family film from a Grimm Brothers tale Red Riding Hood will start shooting later this year.