Prod'n house gives equity to stars, producers

Stars and filmmakers who go into business with the newly restructured First Miracle Group don’t just share in the profits of pics they make, they get a stake in the company.

That’s part of a strategy unveiled by the Wall Street veteran Tony Cataldo, who recently took over as president of the indie production and financing company.

Actor/producer Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Long Road Films just inked a three-year, first-look deal with First Miracle Group, under which Van Damme gets shares in the company and joins its board of directors.

In exchange, First Miracle gets 50% of Long Road’s interest in three completed Van Damme films, as well as a first right of refusal on other projects now in development at Long Road.

The completed films are “Universal Soldier, the Return” which Sony Pictures will release in September; “Inferno”; and the direct-to-video release “Legionnaire.”

First Miracle also has a first-look deal with Emmett/Furla Films, under which the producers get a stake in the company in lieu of salaries.

Equity investment

“People respond better if they have equity,” said Cataldo, a self-acknowledged neophyte in the entertainment field. The former president of Internet Systems was brought into the company because of his track record at turning around publicly traded companies.

First Miracle co-founders Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan have left the company, although Golan will serve as a consultant going forward.

Cataldo said First Miracle had recently acquired rights to a number of literary properties that it planned to develop, including Stanford Whitmore’s spec “Alicia’s Book.”

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