Lord/Weaver ‘Firms’ up prod’n pact

Matthew Weaver and Tony Lord, producers of “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” have exited the hard-scrabble indie world and inked a first-look pact with Davis Entertainment.

The deal gives Davis Entertainment, the production company on “The Firm, “”Grumpy Old Men” and “Predator,” access to the majority of the Lord/Weaver Prods. slate of material. That includes the company’s partnership with Filmation founder Lou Scheimer to adapt “Fat Albert” for the big screen (Daily Variety, Sept. 15). Several studios have already expressed interest in the project.

The deal underscores Davis Entertainment’s continued growth into one of the stronger independent sources of movie product. Davis produced 11 movies in the past year and plans another eight in the next year. Davis said producer deals are crucial if the company is to “continue to make such a prodigious number of pictures.”

“This is a business that runs best on young creative energy,” said Davis Entertainment chair-man John Davis. “These are young guys with a definite creative point of view, and those people that bring us the fresh ideas tend to make the most interesting new movies.”

Lord/Weaver has enjoyed significant success building an eclectic slate of projects. Beyond “Fat Albert,” Lord/Weaver is spearheading “The Hatfields and McCoys,” an adaptation of novelist T.C. Boyle’s “Budding Prospects” and screenwriters Eric and Russel Taras’ “The Mensch.”

In addition, the company is also in negotiations with authors Laurie Schiller and Amanda Bennett on “The Quiet Room,” which is slated to be published in summer 1994.

The Lord/Weaver deal is unusual because producer pacts have become increasingly rare in the business. “Tony and I have been so fortunate getting our hands on some really good projects, and now we have someone with the power and influence to get these things made,” Weaver said.

“This is not about office space, it’s about being down the hall from the guy who produced ‘The Firm,’ ” said Lord.

Weaver worked as a production associate for former Walt Disney Pictures executive veepee Marty Katz before partnering with Lord, who produced the acclaimed short film “The Chile Con Carne Club” and worked as a staffer on “thirtysomething.”

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