Cannes 2012: Crystal Sky Slate Includes Holiday Comedy, 'Tekken 4' and 'Dracula' (Exclusive)

1:49 PM PST 05/17/2012 by Alex Ben Block
"Chilly Christmas"

C. Thomas Howell stars in "Chilly Christmas" and Jon Voight returns in a trilogy of "Baby Geniuses" movies, as producer Steven Paul looks to develop movie franchises.

C. Thomas Howell, Tom Arnold and Brooke Langton are starring in Chilly Christmas, a family comedy centered around a boy and his gigantic dog that is part of an expanded  slate of movies being offered for the first time at Cannes by Crystal Sky, according to CEO Steven Paul.

Crystal Sky will go into production this summer on Dracula: The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to be shot on location in Romania. Pearry Reginald Teo (Necromentia) is directing. Paul is looking to cast a star in the lead.

“It’s the first installment in a franchise about a young, romantic Prince of Darkness, his Army of the Undead and a series of events that shake Transylvania to its core,” said Paul, who calls the vampires “the bad boys” of their time.  He said the intent is to create a Twilight-typefranchise, which will spin off movie after movie in years to come. 

Building a franchise is also the plan for Chilly Christmas, which has recently wrapped production, marking the directing debut of Gregory Poppen, who has written a number of movies in the past for Crystal Sky, including Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2. Chilly Christmas, which was written by Poppen and Paul, is targeted for a Christmas release on video and television.

Paul also plans Tekken: Rise of the Tournament as part of a franchise of movies. Based on a popular series of video games, it is a prequel to the 2010 movie Tekken, which was released on video in the U.S. by Anchor Bay as part of a 15-movie output deal signed by Crystal Sky in 2010.

Paul is hoping the prequel, directed by Prachya Pinkaew (Ong Bak), will get a domestic theatrical release although no deal is in place as yet. The movie will not have stars but will have actors who look like the characters in the video games.

Paul’s most prolific franchise is Baby Geniuses, which dates back to the first movie done with Sony in 1999, which was a surprise hit. Sony is no longer involved, but Paul’s company is now in post-production on a trilogy – sequels 3, 4 and 5 – all starring Jon Voight as the villain, and all directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer, Bratz). Each movie is budgeted at about $10 million. They were shot on location in ten countries, where the babies arrive from Washington, D.C.  via a transport machine and communicate with local babies.

Crystal Sky has also financed and produced a 13-episode TV series based on Baby Geniuses, who in this incarnation are part of a top-secret network of investigators who solve crimes all over the world using high tech equipment. The TV series will be offered for the first time later this year at MIPCOM.

Paul, who is also a producer on all these movies, says the CGI effects used to make the babies talk is all done by Creative Visual Effects, which his company has owned since acquiring it from Sony in the late 1980s.

Scott Karol, Paul’s attorney, is executive producer on all of the movies and the TV series. Crystal Sky Worldwide Sales is sales agent for the movies. 

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