Hyde Park ramps up slate

Shingle inks first-look deal with MGM

Just eight months after the launch of Ashok Amritraj and David Hoberman’s MGM-based Hyde Park Entertainment, the shingle has added a Wesley Snipes action-drama, a Roger Corman remake, two MGM co-financing pacts and its first Walt Disney co-production to a growing production slate.

Although Amritraj and Hoberman launched their company with the intent of giving MGM and Disney alternate shots at first look, the partners told Daily Variety that such a plan proved impractical. Hyde Park now has its first-look deal with MGM and a second-look arrangement with Disney.

Other highlights of the Hyde Park slate include:

  • “Extractors.” Hyde Park and MGM will co-finance the $40 million-$50 million action thriller, which will be directed by Christian Duguay (“Art of War”). Written by James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox, who also penned the Hoberman-produced “The Negotiator,” the story follows a team of ex-cons who break out prisoners for a price. When the crew releases a notorious terrorist, they must recapture the criminal in order to save themselves. Hoberman and Amritraj produce.
  • “Pretty Ugly.” Hyde Park and Disney will co-finance this comedy, written by David Dorfman, that tracks a handsome womanizer who wakes up one day overweight and ugly when a spurned conquest puts a curse on him. The only way to reverse the hex is to woo the woman, in his new body. Hoberman and Amritraj will produce with Robert Solo. Disney production president Nina Jacobson will oversee the pic with senior veep Greg Hoffman. A late summer start is anticipated.
  • “Man With the X-Ray Eyes.” Hyde Park will team with MGM to co-finance this remake of the 1963 Corman film about Dr. James Xavier, a man who develops the ability to see through the very fabric of reality. Caroline Thompson (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”) has been hired to pen the screenplay. Lou Arkoff will produce with Hoberman and Amritraj.

  • “Fast Flash to Bang Time.” Snipes is set to star in and produce this $20 million drama. Gary Fleder (“Kiss the Girls”) directs the pic, slated for a September start. Written by Peter Iliff (“Varsity Blues”), “Fast Flash” is the story of a crack-addicted FBI agent and his sex-addicted female partner who fall in love and team to prevent a terrorist attack. Snipes’ Amen Ra Prods. will produce with Iliff, Kimiko Fox, Amritraj, Hoberman and Fleder.

The first Hyde Park production to hit movie screens will be “Anti-Trust,” starring Tim Robbins and Ryan Phillippe and directed by Peter Howitt (“Sliding Doors”). Now wrapping up production and slated for a fourth quarter release, MGM and Hyde Park co-financed the thriller about a company that puts hits on computer hackers. Keith Addis and Nick Weschler produced the pic, written by Howard Franklin, with Amritraj and Hoberman serving as exec producers.

‘Outlaws’ ready for action

Production is expected to begin in September on another Hyde Park-MGM co-production, “Outlaws.” Directed by Barry Levinson and starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett, the $70 million-budgeted drama follows two ex-cons who become overnight celebrities by robbing banks and who find themselves falling in love with the same woman. Amritraj and Hoberman produce with Paula Weinstein, Michael Birnbaum, Michele Berk and David Willis. Harley Peyton penned the script.

At Disney, Hyde Park is developing such projects as “Borrowed Time,” with Charles Shyer attached to direct; scribe Ron Koslow’s “Name of the Song” and the Polish brothers’ “Teargarden.” At MGM, the shingle is developing Daniel Voll’s “Purgatory” and Peyton’s “Ump.”

Euro deals

In recent months, Hyde Park has inked a five-year pact with European media consortium Eureka and three-year deals with Almassa for the Middle East, Forum Film for Israel, Sam Film for Iceland and Acqa Pinema for Turkey. The company also has a two-year deal with Warner Nu Metro for South Africa.

A relatively lean eight-person company housed at the MGM Plaza in Santa Monica, Hyde Park’s veep of development is Christi Limm, and its veep of acquisitions is Todd Lieberman.

Limm had been with Hoberman at Mandeville for four years. Lieberman, who was brought aboard at the new company’s inception, came from Summit, where he was responsible for the acquisition of “American Pie.”

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