NEW YORK — New Line is shelling out $5 million-$7 million for North American and Italian rights to a toned-down, modern refiguring of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Radar Pictures is financing the pic, and Michael Bay is producing via his Radar-based Platinum Dunes shingle.
Agreement includes a first-look deal on a subsequent Platinum project.
Sony’s Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures and Dimension Films also pursued “Massacre,” but not as aggressively as New Line. Adam Krentzman of CAA’s independent division repped Bay and Radar in the pact, clinched after Bay showed acquisitions execs a one-minute promo for the pic.
Scott Kosar, repped by Endeavor, will pen the script. Kosar wrote “The Machinist,” which was bought by Working Title and the Coen brothers.
Guy Stodel, head of acquisitions for New Line and Fine Line, brought “Massacre” into the studio along with the division’s prexy, Mark Ordesky. Production is expected to begin lensing this summer with a budget between $13 million and $19 million.
“We rereleased the picture in the late 1970s or early 1980s,” New Line topper Bob Shaye told Daily Variety, “after convincing the three guys who produced the film to allow us to do so. It’s one of those films that helped New Line along its way.”
Shaye said the pic would be “an original, fresh and thrilling post-modern” take on the original. In the new pic, he noted, blood-letting will be kept to a minimum, particularly since producer Bay is active on a director’s committee against violence.
Studio prexy Toby Emmerich added: “My sense from Bay is that he will not so much look at the previous ‘Chainsaw’ movies as look back to the original, real stories that informed it.”
The original 1974 “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” became a cult classic, helping to spawn an entire genre of B slasher pics. Helmed by Tobe Hooper, story jumps off from the same mysterious and gruesome 1957 incident that led to Robert Bloch’s novel. When a dozen graves are violated in a rural Texas cemetery, five twentysomethings investigate. En route they discover a family of grave robbers, led by a vicious, saw-wielding butcher.
Int’l rights hot
At the recent American Film Market, more than 40 overseas distribs nabbed rights to the pic from David Linde, prexy of Good Machine Intl. (Daily Variety, March 4). Buyers include Entertainment Film Distributors (U.K.), Constantin Film (Germany), Nippon Herald (Japan) and Lauren Film (Spain).
Bay, who will play an active producing role, established Platinum Dunes in November with partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. “Massacre” is Bay’s first announced project under his first-look pact with Radar. Bay will produce with Michael Fleiss of Next Entertainment. Radar’s Ted Field and Next’s Jeff Allard will exec produce with Form and Fuller.
New Line’s veep of development, Chris Godsick, will oversee “Massacre” along with Stodel.