Gavin Polone,whose latest picture Panic Room opens in March, is the latest producer to source financing fromthe international marketplace, teaming up with Senator International todevelop, acquire, produce and distribute a slate of pictures.
But unlike many such deals, Polone's company Pariah and Senator have guaranteed domesticdistribution through a second alliance with his Panic Room partner Columbia Pictures and itsmid-budget releasing division Screen Gems.
Under the two-year deal Pariah will develop and acquirerights to projects backed by a fund guaranteed by Senator. Columbia and ScreenGems will be actively involved in the early stages of development on projectsinitiated by the venture.
The trio werealready actively involved together before yesterday's deal announcement.Polone has been developing the action thriller Tick Tock for Columbia; Columbia's president ofproduction Peter Schlessel has a close relationship with Drake, president ofSenator International; and Columbia bought North America and much of the worldon Senator's thriller 24 Hours.
The films Poloneplans to make - fast-paced thrillers, horror films and action pictures - willprincipally be suited to Screen Gems, which this year will distribute a mixtureof product such as The 51st State, now re-titled Formula 51, with Samuel L Jackson, Resident Evil with Milla Jovovich and Half PastDead with Steven Seagal.The company has enjoyed a modest hit with The Mothman Prophecies starring Richard Gere, which opened lastmonth and grossed in excess of $30m.
"ScreenGems is a prime distributor of the films Pariah will target and we are lookingforward to a steady and reliable stream of material," said Gems presidentClint Culpepper.
Senator willsell the films in international territories. "Gavin, Peter and Clint areall guys who consistently make movies happen," said Drake. "This dealmoves us much closer to executing on the promise we made when we started thiscompany less than a year ago, to deliver broad appeal commercial films to theinternational marketplace that have a major studio partner in the UnitedStates," said Joe Drake, President of Senator International.
Matt Tolmach,executive vice president of production for Columbia Pictures will supervise thedeal for Columbia.
Polone waspreviously partnered with Judy Hofflund in Hofflund/Polone on films such as 8MM, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Stir Of Echoes and Panic Room.