Q&A: CBS Films' Amy Baer


It's go time for Amy Baer. Twenty-one months after jumping aboard as president of Leslie Moonves' film offshoot, Baer is prepping her first slate of four 2010 films: January's Jennifer Lopez romcom "The Back-Up Plan," followed by an untitled Harrison Ford-Brendan Fraser drama in April, a Vanessa Hudgens-starring take on "Beauty and the Beast" titled "Beastly" in July, and a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson actioner "Faster" in the fourth quarter. The 40-employee division also is actively developing projects like the adaptation of CBS' long-running "Gunsmoke" with the goal of releasing four to six movies a year.

The Hollywood Reporter: What is a CBS Films movie?

Amy Baer: It is really better defined by what it isn't than by what it is. Leslie and I are both interested in a broader range of commercial fare. It was where I lived when I was an executive at Sony. Movies that reach more than one audience, movies that aren't necessarily specialty or art-house or genre or chick flicks. Conceptually good, emotionally good and movies that an audience can relate to on a thematic level. The budgets are roughly up to $50 million. So anywhere between $10 million and $50 million is where we'll live. I want to make sure that the movies we're making are not only movies that people want to go see but that our marketing department will not be challenged out of the gate in terms of how to sell it.

THR: Will you acquire films?

Baer: Eventually, yes. One of the things we didn't want to do in the first go-round is to make acquisitions because then you're known as an acquisitions company and it's kind of hard to work backward from that. Steve Friedlander, who's our head of distribution, sees everything that's out there, and I think for the right movie we absolutely would. But we wanted to make sure that for our first slate or two were homegrown.

THR: Are you buying a ton of scripts to develop and cherry-pick? Or when you buy something, is there a pretty good chance you're going to make it?

Baer: It's more the latter than the former. It takes a lot for me to like something, but when I like it I love it. We probably have a little over 25 projects in development right now, and we make four to six a year, so that's four or five to one. I don't like to take a lot of fliers because that's just not who I am.