Addis-Wechsler inks 3-year New Line pact

Deal gives NL first crack at wealth of talent

New Line Cinema and its arthouse arm Fine Line Features, bolstering their production ranks, have inked a three-year, first-look production and development deal with Addis-Wechsler & Associates, the studio announced Wednesday.

Addis-Wechsler, which is run by Keith Addis and Nick Wechsler, will develop and produce midsize to larger-budgeted pics for New Line, as well as specialty fare for Fine Line.

Sources said Addis-Wechsler will get a certain number of put pictures over the three-year deal. The firm also will co-own copyrights with New Line on several of the projects.

Discretionary fund included

New Line will provide Addis-Wechsler with a sizable discretionary fund for development, an element that is not normally a part of New Line’s production pacts, though Renny Harlin and Steve Tisch both had them. Addis-Wechsler will augment that fund with its own development financing.

Addis-Wechsler, which will retain foreign rights for specialty pics that will be set up at Fine Line, will provide some of the financing for them through its own overseas sales.

Addis-Wechsler is just coming off a two-year pact with Universal. “This is a very exceptional deal,” Wechsler said. “We want to try to make as many pictures as we can.”

Miramax, Sony and 20th Century Fox all had been interested in signing Addis-Wechsler with comparable deals.

The deal will give New Line first crack at a major pocketful of talent and directors handled by Addis-Wechsler. Addis-Wechsler reps such stars as Samuel L. Jackson, Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed Burns, Steve Buscemi, Minnie Driver, Alec Baldwin and Gabriel Byrne, as well as helmers Ted Demme, Nick Cassavetes, Kasi Lemmons, Vincent Ward and John Herzfeld.

Addis-Wechsler manager-producers who will seek out material for New Line to back include managers Rick Yorn, Julie Silverman Yorn, Eli Selden and exec VP of production Julia Chasman. Marc Evans and David Carmel will be involved as creative execs.

The company has produced such pics as “sex, lies, and videotape,” “Drugstore Cowboy,” “Trees Lounge,” “Polish Wedding,” “The New Age” and “Eve’s Bayou.”

Addis-Wechsler also is involved in a strategic partnership with Interpublic Group of Cos.

New Line formerly had teamed with Addis-Wechsler on “The Player,” “Little Odessa” and “love jones.”

Ordesky’s first major move

Fine Line president Mark Ordesky was especially pleased with the deal, as it marked his first major move since taking over the company. “This is the first major order of business for the new regime. It’s indicative of the caliber of people that Fine Line wants to be in business with,” Ordesky said.

“We were looking for a home that would challenge us creatively and embrace the diversity of our film projects,” said Wechsler, who founded Addis-Wechsler with Addis in 1989. “Few companies can offer what New Line and Fine Line offer under one roof.”

New Line prexy of production Michael De Luca lauded the pact for providing the studio with a raft of talent. “Over the years, we have worked closely with many Addis-Wechsler clients, and with this deal in place, we will continue to build upon those relationships,” he said.

But more important, De Luca noted, was the additional production capability it gives New Line as a studio. “This is a new page for us. We just decided that Addis-Wechsler would really be our first and foremost supplier of outside product,” De Luca said.

The deal for Addis-Wechsler was brokered by ICM.

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