Kennedy, Marshall will answer the Col

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Kennedy/Marshall, the shingle run by producing veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, has found a new home, signing a first-look deal with Columbia Pictures. The exclusive pact, which is set to run for 18 months, begins in April.

Coming off the success of their "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the Paramount-Warner Bros. co-production that has grossed more than $315 million worldwide and earned 13 Oscar nominations and three trophies, the veteran husband-and-wife producing team had found themselves without a studio home base.

Their company most recently was housed at Universal, where it produced the "Bourne" franchise as well as "Seabiscuit" and "Munich." But even though the "Bourne" movies generated about $950 million worldwide for the studio and a fourth "Bourne" installment is in the works, they fell victim to studio belt-tightening when Universal decided not to renew their deal in December.

Although it was not immediately clear which projects they might immediately set up under the new deal, the duo has several projects in development at the studio, including "It's Not About the Bike," a Lance Armstrong biopic. Matt Damon is loosely attached to star in the project, which Marshall would direct.

The company also is involved in the Steven Spielberg-Peter Jackson film "Tintin," a co- production among Columbia, Paramount and DreamWorks. Columbia is distributing the movie internationally.

Meanwhile, they also are prepping M. Night Shyamalan's "Airbender" movie for Paramount.

The duo are long-time associates of Spielberg, having co-founded Amblin with the filmmaker, and they could find themselves working on a number of DreamWorks projects in the future.

Outside of the company, the pair reteamed with Spielberg and George Lucas on last year's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," with Marshall and Kennedy serving as producer and executive producer, respectively.

They formed their own banner in 1992, making movies that have shown their knack for spotting both commercial and prestige material — and sometimes a combination of both in one package.

Kennedy, who is tied with Spielberg and Stanley Kramer for the most Academy Award nominations — six — as best picture producer, has served as producer of such small-scale films as "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "Persepolis."

Marshall also occasionally directs projects, such as "Alive" and "Eight Below."

During their time at Universal, the team turned out "Button" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles," both for Paramount, and "Eight Below" and "Mr. 3000" for Disney.

The well-connected Kennedy/Marshall also had an earlier home at Disney. (partialdiff)
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