Showtime, Brit backers ready commercial pics

Showtime and British film financiers Flashpoint Ltd. have entered into an agreement to co-finance five original films, the companies announced Wednesday.

With budgets of $4 million to $5.5 million each, the films are the biggest- budgeted and most commercially aimed projects that Showtime has in development, said Matt Riklin, executive VP, program enterprises for Showtime.

Showtime and Flashpoint will finance a percentage of each film in exchange for certain distribution rights.

“Rated X” tells the true story of the Mitchell Bros., who became the kings of the pornography business in the 1970s until they destroyed themselves in the process.

“They are really pioneers in the porn industry, but the older brother ends up killing the younger brother to stop him from destroying everything around him,” Riklin said.

“Rated X,” which has not been cast, features executive producers Dick Berg and Allan Marcil from a script by Norman Snider and Anne Meredith.

“Possessed,” another true story, is about an exorcism performed on a 14-year-old boy by Jesuit priests in 1949. Barbara Title serves as producer for this film written by Michael Lazarou and Steven E. de Souza, who also directs.

“Madame Bovary,” an American Zoetrope production with producers Fred Fuchs and Gordon Greisman, is an adaptation of the classic novel. Greisman is also the writer and Kevin Cooper serves as co-executive producer.

“It’s a very sexy, edgy period piece,” Riklin said.

The fourth project, “In the Time of the Butterflies,” tells the story of three sisters who helped bring down the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic.

Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures is executive producing the film, with Diane Sokolow serving as the Phoenix point person and with Tony Bill and Helen Bartlett as producers. Judy Klass and David Klass serve as writers.The fifth film in the Showtime-Flashpoint joint venture has not been determined yet.

Showtime and Flashpoint became acquainted with each other when Flashpoint took part as an investor in the acclaimed film “Gods and Monsters,” which Regent Entertainment produced with Showtime.

“Gods and Monsters” found a theatrical distributor before its premiere on Showtime, an option that Showtime includes in all of its original film deals.

“These films are the kinds of productions that will have the chance to be shopped theatrically,” Riklin said, referring to the Showtime-Flashpoint pics. “That’s part of the reason why we have the kind of quality producers and talent involved with our films.”

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