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Warner Bros. has signed an exclusive first-look deal with Gulfstream Pictures, the film production and financing company headed by Mike Karz, producer of Valentine’s Day, and Bill Bindley. Gulfstream plans to produce and co-finance two films a year beginning with The Nut Job, a $45 million animated feature directed by Peter Lepeniotis.
Gulfstream brings with it financing from an initial multimillion-dollar development fund from Redrover Ltd., the Korea-based 3D technology and production company, as well as a consortium of U.S. private-equity money.
The Nut Job will be produced by Redrover and Toonbox Entertainment, the Toronto animation studio, which becomes a sister company to Gulfstream.
Under the two-year pact, Gulfstream will be based on the Warners lot in Burbank and will co-finance development with Warners with the option of co-financing the films, which will be distributed worldwide by Warners. Gulfstream is meeting with additional investors to complete the formation of a $200 million film fund, of which Redrover and the U.S. private-equity funds are lead investors.
In addition to Valentine’s Day, Karz produced New Year’s Eve for Warners. His latest film for the studio, Thunderstruck, starring NBA star Kevin Durant and directed by John Whitesell, opened Aug. 24 in limited release.
Bindley and Karz are producing two more projects for the studio: West Texas United, a comedy with Russell Brand attached to star that was written by Bindley and his brother Scott Bindley, and Say Uncle, a family comedy the duo is producing and Bill Bindley is directing. Bill Bindley helmed the Jim Caviezel-starrer Madison, which was distributed by MGM in 2005.
“Mike and Bill have been valued members of the Warner family for a long time,” said Greg Silverman, Warners president of production. “We’re excited to extend our relationship to include Gulfstream and eagerly anticipate making more great movies together.”
Added Redrover CEO Hoe-jin Ha: “This opportunity is a historic step for the Korean film industry. We are very excited to set up this fund, supported by Warner Bros., and we look forward to co-financing many films through this partnership with Gulfstream.”
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