Sights set on four pix a year

Gotham-based production and financing company the Shooting Gallery, the banner behind such indies as “Sling Blade,” is close to inking a domestic theatrical distribution pact with Universal Pictures.

Under terms of the three-year rent-a-system deal, which is slated to begin Jan. 1, Shooting Gallery is expected to supply up to four pics per year. The films will be budgeted under $10 million each, with Shooting Gallery covering most of the prints and advertising costs, and will handle international rights on its films.

The company has an output deal with Artisan Pictures, which expires at the end of the year.

CAA is brokering the deal on behalf of the Shooting Gallery, which in May inked an exclusive pay TV output deal with John Malone’s Starz! network.

In addition to “Sling Blade,” the New York-based production banner has produced such low-budget indies as “Laws of Gravity,” “Niagara, Niagara,” “I Went Down,” “Illtown” and “Strangeland.”

The company is run by founder, chairman and CEO Larry Meistrich and by Stephen Carlis, who serves as TSG’s president and chief financial officer.

Shooting Gallery operates an L.A. office, for which former Universal production exec Andrew Given serves as president of production.

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