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Par turns to Teutons to fund 4-pics

Fund forages for private investors

This article was corrected on August 1, 2000.

Paramount Pictures and German film fund ALCAS are pairing to raise some $280 million to finance four Par pics — “Down to Earth,” (originally titled “I Was Made to Love Her”) directed by Chris and Paul Weitz; “Hardball,” starring Keanu Reeves and Diane Lane; “Shooter,” to be directed by William Friedkin; and the Mutual Film Co.-developed comedy “Guam Goes to the Moon.”

ALCAS, a subsidiary of KGAL Leasing that is backed by HypoVereinsbank, will offer private German investors the opportunity to participate in a tax shelter scheme that will generate DM590 million ($283 million) to back the film projects while offsetting their tax bills.

The films under the fund vary greatly in their production stages. Tommy Lee Jones is attached to “Shooter,” which is still seeking a second A-list male lead, and sources said that Lakeshore Entertainment will no longer serve as a co-financier on the pic, but will instead serve in some producing capacity. Mark Johnson and Barry Levinson are also producers on that film, which is currently being penned by Cyrus Nawashay.

As for “Guam,” the film is still in development at Mutual with neither a director nor star, but Mutual’s deal allows the equity production shingle to act as co-financier with Par on any project it develops. Guam is produced by Mutual principals Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn with Robert Simonds.

“Down,” which was produced by 3 Arts and Alphaville, is currently in post, while the Tollin/Robbins production “Hardball” begins shooting Aug. 7.

Previous Par productions financed by KGAL include “Mission: Impossible 2” and “Shaft.”

The launch of the new fund comes after German authorities rewrote tax laws threatening funds invested in Hollywood in a bid to re-direct the funding into Europe and Germany.

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