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Hyde Park splits pix with Disney, MGM

Company may get $200 mil a year in production financing

Ashok Amritraj and David Hoberman’s Hyde Park Entertainment banner has struck innovative dual studio distribution arrangements with Walt Disney and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The “alternate first-look deals” will see the producers present their first project to the Mouse, their second to the Lion, and so on.

In addition, the Hyde Park principals are close to finalizing a three- to four-year pact with Chase Securities that would provide the company with as much as $200 million a year in production financing.

Neither studio will contribute to Hyde Park’s overhead. Amritraj and Hoberman’s fees will be built into their pic budgets.

Amritraj and Hoberman launched Hyde Park late last month (Daily Variety, July 26). The intention was to make up to six big-budget titles a year with domestic and foreign partners. The company hasn’t announced any projects yet.

Under its deals with the two studios, which are both nonexclusive, Hyde Park will license them the rights, on their respective pics, in North America, U.K., Australia, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Hyde Park is aligning itself with a European media giant for continental Europe, a deal likely to close early next week. It will sell Japan itself; and it also will handle the rest of the world itself, or go through a foreign sales company.

William Morris Agency’s Arnold Rifkin, who put the deal together for Hyde Park, said he believed it set a precedent.

“When I met Ashok he needed a creative partner, and I suggested David (Hoberman). They’re both people who have tremendous integrity and they each needed someone that they felt safe with and could trust,” Rifkin said.

“This creates a (company) model that we haven’t seen before, and we’re going to see a lot more of it as studios eliminate or merge producing deals,” he continued.

Copyright on Hyde Park’s pics will be shared between the company and the studio, with each owning rights in their respective territories.

Hyde Park will develop, produce and finance its own pics, and the studios will buy them as negative pickups. Hyde Park also plans to board studio films in development as a financial partner, and may work with third-party producers.

Hyde Park is evidence of an increasing tendency at Disney to make deals with producers who have their own financing, such as Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber’s Spyglass Entertainment.

Aside from a co-financing pact with Miramax, Hyde Park is the first production deal to be signed by Chris McGurk since he became vice chairman of MGM in April.

Amritraj and Hoberman were repped by WMA’s Rifkin, and attorneys Skip Brittenham and David Nochimson. John Miller and Clark Hallren negotiated for Chase.

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