Universal Extends Its Pact With Working Title Films Through 2015

Tim Bevan Eric Fellner - P 2012
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Tim Bevan Eric Fellner - P 2012

Instead of being an exclusive arrangement, the new deal is a first-look agreement.

Universal Pictures and Working Title Films have extended their production agreement through 2015. The announcement was made Friday by Universal chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley and Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

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Working Title’s existing deal with Universal, which had been an exclusive arrangement, was to have expired in 2013, and in renewing the pact, the studio insisted on more favorable terms with the result that the deal is now a first-look agreement. The announcement noted that the extension is “structured to bring it in line with Universal’s other production agreements” – such as its recently announced renewal of its pact with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard‘s Imagine Entertainment, Universal’s other big supplier.

London-based Working Title first entered into a production deal with Universal in 1999. Since then the two companies have produced films that have grossed more than $4.25 billion worldwide.

Working Title’s upcoming films include Tom Hooper’s screen adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman, which is scheduled for release Dec. 14; Rush, the biography of Formula 1 champions Niki Lauda and James Hunt, which Ron Howard is directing from a script by Peter Morgan, with Working Title producing with Imagine and Revolution; and John Crowley‘s Closed, starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall.

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Working Title also will release Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson, through Universal’s specialty film division Focus Features domestically and UPI internationally this fall. 

Past movies from Universal and Working Title include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Billy Elliot, Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Frost/Nixon. Most recently, the two companies released the action-thriller Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg.

“Working Title has been an invaluable partner for Universal, with our two companies enjoying tremendous success on films that have delighted audiences all over the world,” Fogelson and Langley said in a statement. “Tim and Eric are true leaders in the global production space, which gives us more of an opportunity to be in business with some of the best international talent, and we’re thrilled to be extending our partnership.”

Bevan and Fellner added: “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with our friends at Universal. It has been a long and fruitful relationship, and we are very much looking forward to more successes over the coming years.”