SpyglassEntertainment, which has a first-look, non-exclusive production agreement withColumbia Pictures, will co-finance the eagerly awaited Memoirs Of A Geisha and action sequel The Legend Of Zorro.
Spyglass holds all international rights to bothpictures and Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) willdistribute in select markets for Spyglass. Both films are scheduled for releasein 2005.
Rob Marshallwill direct Memoirs Of A Geisha in his first project since the multi-Oscar winner Chicago. Based on Arthur Golden's best-sellingnovel, the story follows an 18-year-old Japanese girl who must learn to be ageisha in order to survive.
Spyglass will co-finance Memoirs with Sony and DreamWorks, while Columbia will marketthe picture domestically and Columbia and DreamWorks will share domesticdistribution as well as some international territories.
Doug Wick andLucy Fisher will produce through their Red Wagon label with Steven Spielberg.
The Legend OfZorro is the follow-upto Columbia's 1998 hit The Mask of Zorro and reunites Antonio Banderas in the title role alongsideCatherine Zeta-Jones.
Martin Campbellwill direct the picture, which is being produced by Walter Parkes and LaurieMacDonald.
"Memoirs Of AGeisha and The LegendOf Zorro are projectswith tremendous foreign appeal and we believe these properties will deliverextraordinary entertainment value to audiences worldwide," Sony PicturesEntertainment Motion Picture Group chairman Amy Pascal said in a statement.
Pascal addedthat under the terms of the first-look deal it had always been clear that Spyglass would have the opportunity to co-finance highprofile projects with the studio.
In a jointstatement Spyglass co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers Gary Barber andRoger Birnbaum said: "We are excited to kick off our partnership with Sony withthese two spectacular titles.
"Sony is proving to be a great partner in our newdeal and we look forward to working with Amy and her team on more great filmslike these."
Spyglass productions includeBruce Almighty, Seabiscuit, The Sixth Sense, The Insider and Keeping The Faith.