Douglas, Reuther bow new prod’n unit

Michael Douglas has set up a new production company with former New Regency Prods. prexy Steven Reuther, folding Stonebridge Prods., his Columbia-based production company, in the process.

The new Douglas Reuther Prods. pairs an Academy Award-winning producer — Douglas for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”– and Reuther, who has been behind such B.O. successes as “Pretty Woman” and “Under Siege.” And with Douglas the actor, the company also has ready access to one of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws.

The company is negotiating to line up financing, as well as a domestic distribution deal with a studio. Reuther declined to say if the company has any projects lined up. “Michael and I have just come to this partnership,” Reuther said.

The deal will not pull Douglas away from acting. The new company was conceived in part to find vehicles for Douglas.

Reuther is currently producing “Boys on the Side,” an AIDS drama with Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker and Drew Barrymore that is currently lensing in Arizona.

Saban’s new sign is Libra

Indie production outfit Saban Entertainment has formed Libra Pictures, a film and TV production banner that will tap into the marketplace of direct-to-video fare. The arm also intends to deliver features for domestic theatrical release.

Using a $ 50 million combination of war chest and co-venture funds to finance a first-year slate of 12 to 15 projects, Libra will focus on producing high-quality, genre-specific films — thrillers and action-adventures — with internationally known casts.

Most titles will be earmarked for direct-to-video release, while some will be shopped to major studios for theatrical release. Budgets are expected to be in the $ 3 million-$ 5 million range. The Libra banner was created to differentiate product from Saban’s, which is primarily aligned with children’s animated and live-action film and TV productions.

Libra will deliver projects aimed at older audiences. Libra also has established Libra Home Entertainment, which will serve as the homevideo distribution arm for its releases. The company also will acquire product, releasing it domestically through A*Vision Entertainment.

Features slated for international theatrical, homevid and TV release will be funneled through Saban Intl.

Libra’s first release will be “Blindfold,” with Shannen Doherty and Judd Nelson. The film’s unrated version, featuring the tempestuous actress in the nude, has been the subject of tabloid fodder. The film, written and directed by Lawrence Simeone, is set for a July release. The second project wrapped is “Edge of Deception,” a Mariel Hemingway/Jennifer Rubin starrer that is on the boards for an early fall release.

Albert ankles Alphaville

Cari-Esta Albert, exec veepee at Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks’ Universal-based Alphaville, will be leaving her post there to become a producer in her own right.

The company’s recent B.O. track record has been mixed, with two hits (“Tombstone,””Hard Target”) and two misses (“Dazed and Confused” and “Heart and Souls”).

Albert has been with Alphaville for two years but has worked with Daniel for nine years. She will remain closely partnered with the company on a number of film projects, among them an action movie by Ron Mita and Jim McClain titled “The French Teacher.”

‘Executive’ rights sold

Two Warner Bros. outfits, New Regency Prods. and Arnold Kopelson Prods., picked up the rights to “Executive Privilege,” a Washington, D.C.-set thriller penned by two unproduced Chicago scribes.

Wayne Beach and David Hodgin sold the script for $ 400,000 against $ 750,000.

Jay Greene, Adam Sandler and Kathleen O’Steen contributed to his report.

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