Neufeld deal looks to give Col bigger piece of action

Slate includes 'Game,' 'Plum'

Hoping to pump up its underdeveloped action arena, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures has signed Mace Neufeld to a three-year, first-look production deal.

Neufeld will produce Nelson DeMille’s new novels “The Lion’s Game” and “Plum Island” for Sony, along with the Michael Connelly-penned Harry Bosch detective novels “Black Ice,” being adapted by Scott Rosenberg (Daily Variety, Jan. 13), and “Black Echo.” Par has the option to co-production and co-distrib deals for both Bosch novels.

Neufeld will develop “The Man Who Could Work Miracles” for Col, but will continue to produce Par projects “Bless the Child,” with Kim Basinger, and the Phillip Noyce-helmed Tom Clancy pic “The Sum of All Fears.”

“Mace is the kind of producer with a knack for attracting talented people and bringing compelling stories to life,” Col chairman Amy Pascal said in a statement. “I look forward to developing this exciting slate of projects with him.”

Pascal, who has a steady stream of adult dramas and comedies like “Big Daddy,” “Girl, Interrupted” and the upcoming “City Ballet,” faces a paucity of action producers on the lot.

Pascal has yet to make an action movie with Sony-based action helmer John Woo in his three years there; his next picture, “Windtalkers,” was snatched up by MGM after Sony passed.

Neufeld recently ended his longtime production pact at Paramount Pictures, where he was based for more than 10 years via an exclusive production deal. Most recently, he produced the John Travolta starrer “The General’s Daughter,” which grossed $103 million domestically for Par.

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