King expands empire with new prod'n banner

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CANNES -- Oscar-winning producer Graham King has launched GK Films, securing a three-year, first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures for the startup production banner. He also has reupped his production pact with Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil, King said.

The new deal gives Warner Bros. a first-look option on films produced under the GK Films moniker, which will include Infinitum titles. King, producer of the Oscar-winning "The Departed," will remain a principal in Initial Entertainment Group, whose titles will also be included in the three-year Warner Bros. deal.

The British-born, Los Angeles-based producer told The Hollywood Reporter that he wanted to establish the new production label "to concentrate on making movies."

He said he would also keep a hand in Initial and is talking to the group about a potential deal on international sales duties on the GK slate.

King will be partnered in GK Films by longtime collaborator and finance whiz Tim Headington, who will work on financing pictures on a case-by-case basis.

Three titles will mark the birth of GK Films.

"Shantaram" will be produced for Warner Bros. in conjunction with Infinitum and Brad Pitt's Paramount-based Plan B. A starring vehicle for Depp from a script by Eric Roth for director Mira Nair, "Shantaram" is based on the novel by Gregory David Roberts.

Martin Scorsese's "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" will be produced by King for Warner Bros. Based on the New York Times best-selling book by Brian Selznick, the film will have a script penned by Oscar nominee John Logan.

First up for GK Films is Jean Marc Vallee's "The Young Victoria," which stars Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt. Detailing the early life and rise to power of Britain's Queen Victoria, the film is skedded to lens in August on location in the U.K.

Initial Entertainment Group, on behalf of GK Films, is repping it in Cannes to international sellers.

King's move comes hot on the heels of a deal that saw Initial co-founder Colin Cotter form a full-service film production and finance company called Continental Entertainment Group with financial services company Citi (HR 5/19).

King's current creative executive team, headed by production president Gail Lyon, vp production Grey Rembert and production exec Denis O'Sullivan, will continue to report to King "as they develop and guide his GK Films slate."
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