Veteran New York producer Martin Bregman has formed a new development and production venture with IAC Films, the London-based sales and financing company.
First pic greenlit under the deal is “The Goldcoast,” a $65 million drama starring Al Pacino and directed by Harold Becker, which is set to shoot next summer in Long Island, N.Y. Script was adapted by Bregman’s son, Michael, from a novel by Nelson Demille.
Bregman, whose credits stretch from the upcoming Eddie Murphy space movie “Pluto Nash” and last year’s “The Bone Collector” all the way back to “Serpico,” has agreed to set up two companies bankrolled by IAC.
The first, based in New York and Los Angeles, will focus on developing Bregman’s own projects. Kate Guinzberg, previously Michelle Pfeiffer’s producing partner in Via Rosa Prods., has already come on board in L.A. to work alongside Bregman.
The second company, based in London, will produce movies from outside producers, which Bregman will help to bring in from his network of Hollywood contacts.
Bregman will be joined on the board of the combined venture by his son, who is an experienced writer-producer, and his longtime producing partner Lou Stroller.
IAC will be represented by chairman Guy Collins, managing director Keith Cousins and Ann Dubinet, president of IAC America.
Deal evolved out of Bregman’s existing relationship with Dubinet, who has been working with him for the past 18 months to raise international financing for his films through her Alchemy banner.
Other projects in the works include the provisionally titled “Ruth Etting Project,” based on the true story of the Broadway chanteuse and her lifelong romance with her mobster manager. Judith Rasco wrote the screenplay. The same story was previously filmed in the 1940s as “Love Me or Leave Me,” with Doris Day and James Cagney.
Bregman, who has rolled all his existing activities into the new partnership, says he expects to deliver two or three pics a year of his own and several more from other producers. Budgets are likely to range from $20 million to $70 million.
The next level
That represents a big step up for IAC, whose house ceiling was previously around $30 million. Moreover, the significant long-term commitment to develop and co-own studio-level product is the London company’s first.
For Bregman, the deal will enable him to consolidate and beef up his existing operations and to enjoy a considerably greater stake in the financial success of his own films.
“It will give me the freedom to do what I want, and the opportunity to make more money from it,” he told Daily Variety. “I have made a lot of money for a lot of studios over the years, but very little of it has come home to me. With IAC raising 70%-75% from foreign sales, we will be in a much stronger position to do good domestic deals with the studios.”
Bregman ventured briefly into international co-financing in the early 1990s, but since then he has set up his films with studios on an ad hoc basis.
IAC is giving Bregman complete autonomy over development. “He doesn’t overspend to get a project to reality; he’s very cost-effective,” said Collins.
“For the first time we will have a full-blown presence in Los Angeles and New York, active in acquisitions, development, production and sales, and our London office for structuring the finance,” he said.
Bregman and his associates will be committed exclusively to the new venture. Stroller first worked with Bregman back in 1978 on “The Seduction of Joe Tynan,” and they have since collaborated on more than 20 films, including “Scarface,” “Sea of Love” and “Carlito’s Way.” Separately, Stroller also exec produced “The Rock.”
In Guinzberg’s decade with Pfeiffer, her producing credits included “One Fine Day” and “A Thousand Acres.” She’s currently finishing “Original Sin” for MGM.
Michael Bregman did the rewrite on “Pluto Nash” and took producer credits on several other movies with his father, including “One Tough Cop” and “The Shadow.”
“I believe that with this little company we have a very unusual situation,” said Bregman pere. “The four of us are not promoters, not packagers; we are very involved in physical production from A to Z. We are filmmakers, and we bring to this deal an enormous amount of experience.”