Essential Entertainment co-founder Jim Kohlberg and producer Neil Kaplan have launched sister company Essential Pictures to develop, package, finance and produce films and have unveiled a maiden slate of seven titles.

Essential Pictures is backed by a separate equity pool from the source that partially funds Essential Entertainment and plans to make two to three films a year in the $10-40m budget range and is seeking product from scripts to books and pre-production galleys.

Jere Hausfater will sell worldwide rights to all Essential Pictures product through Essential Entertainment, which will head into AFM with a bumper slate on the back of recent acquisitions Love And Other Impossible Pursuits starring Natalie Portman and the Intrepid Pictures thriller Cold Light Of Day.

Portman also stars in one of the new Essential Pictures titles, the thriller Isabella V based on a script by Dan Gordon. Essential is producing with Brightlight Pictures and Portman's Handsome Charlie Films.

The roster includes Todd Robinson's political thriller The Last Full Measure starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia in association with Trilogy Entertainment Group; Randall Wallace's adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's time traveling novel Outlander; and Barry Sonnenfeld's romantic comedy Bronwyn And Clyde written by Tom Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin that Kohlberg and Kaplan will produce with Chris Uettiwiller and Dolly Hall.

Rounding out the initial line-up are AM Homes' adaptation of her satirical novel This Book Will Save Your Life in association with Stone Village Pictures; a remake with Gianni Nunnari and Hollywood Gang of Leonardo Pieraccioni's 1996 Italian comedy Il Ciclone based on a screenplay by Darin Mark; and Ali Calamari's celebrity tabloid romantic comedy A Match Made In Magazines.

'At the heart of Essential Pictures is our desire and our capability to produce creative and commercial projects which take advantage of the fact that we have the necessary distribution in having Essential Entertainment as a partner to handle each film,' Kohlberg, who becomes chair, said.

Kaplan, who previously served as partner and president of Trilogy Entertainment Group and is named President and COO, added: 'With this smart economic model and the collective experience of the team, we can provide a producer and filmmaker friendly environment that's material driven in which projects have a built-in distribution system.'

'In having Essential Pictures as a complimentary sister company to Essential Entertainment, it will ensure that projects stay on track from start to finish, and that kind of consistency is valued by producers and film-makers alike,' Hausfater said.