Filmmaker finds new home after Sweetland

NEW YORK — Woody Allen has signed a three-picture domestic distribution deal with DreamWorks, just after ending his association with Jean Doumanian’s Sweetland Films (Daily Variety, March 17).

DreamWorks will put up a portion of the production funding on the three pics; the remainder is expected to come from the sales of foreign rights. His past seven films were bankrolled by Sweetland, which parceled off domestic and foreign rights.

The move was not unexpected as DreamWorks is already distributing his latest comedy, “Small Time Crooks,” which stars Hugh Grant, Allen and Tracey Ullman; pic opens May 19.

Allen has a relationship with DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg that goes back to 1989’s “New York Stories,” and includes “Scenes From a Mall” and the studio’s first animated film, “Antz,” for which Allen provided the voice for leading character, the ant Z.

“I love working with Jeffrey,” Allen said in a statement. “He’s always sensitive to my needs as a filmmaker and he’s got a sense of humor, so it’s exciting to collaborate with him on comedies.”

Katzenberg returned the praise, calling Allen “one of the preeminent filmmakers of our time, whose influence on film comedy cannot be overstated.”

The new deal begins with the untitled film that Allen will start in the fall. Allen and Doumanian parted company after she financed and produced his last seven films, but the longtime friends reached an impasse on continuing their relationship.

Allen is represented by William Morris agents John Burnham and Cassian Elwes, who are currently piecing together the foreign distribution configuration for Allen’s next trio of pics. Allen’s longtime business manager Steve Tennenbaum also worked on the DreamWorks deal.

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