'Dark Knight' Producer Charles Roven Launching Indie Shingle (Exclusive)

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Charles Roven

Atlas Independent, run by William Green, will produce movies with budgets of $10 million or less. Its first production, 'Revenge for Jolly,' quietly wrapped in August.

One of hollywood's most prolific blockbuster factories is thinking smaller.

Charles Roven and his Atlas Entertainment, producers of such hits as The Dark Knight, Get Smart and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, is unveiling Atlas Independent, an affiliated company that will produce indie-minded movies with budgets of $10 million or less.

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Run by music video producer-turned-indie movie guru William Green (who met Roven while making a video for 2002's Scooby-Doo), Atlas Independent is betting on the potential high profit margins of smaller films.

"You don't need a lot to get even, and you may have a breakout," Roven said. "In addition to nurturing talent, there's also a relationship aspect. Being there for them at a very important time in their careers, we obviously hope that they will remember us as good partners and good producers and will want to be in business with us again."

The company hopes to have as much control as possible on the projects, so it will look for independent financing and find distribution after production. Of course, others have taken bold steps into the indie sphere -- notably such studio-backed labels as Warner Independent and Paramount Vantage -- only to retrench when overspending got the better of them.

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But Roven is already in motion on his first lean-and-mean production: In August, the company quietly wrapped the dramatic dark comedy Revenge for Jolly, written by Brian Petsos, directed by Chadd Harbold and starring Petsos, Kristen Wiig, Elijah Wood, Adam Brody and Ryan Phillippe. The company's development slate includes a project involving the DJ trio Swedish House Mafia and the 2006 Black List script Open Grave by brothers Eddie and Chris Borey.

Roven and Green hope there will be cross-pollination between Atlas and its independent offshoot, with execs who work on $100 million-budgeted projects also helping to get the indies off the ground.

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Jokes Green, "We have all the benefits of Atlas Entertainment but without the payroll."