End of Bender deal

Tarantino producer, Miramax part ways

HOLLYWOOD — Lawrence Bender, longtime producer of Quentin Tarantino movies including “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown,” has reached what he described as a “mutual” decision to end his A Band Apart shingle’s first-look deal with Miramax after eight years.

“It’s not creative or financial,” said Bender, “but after a period of time this long, well, it was just time. The deal expired, and we were all so busy with (Tarantino’s next picture) ‘Kill Bill’ that we didn’t do anything about it. Then, we decided not to renew all around.”

Both sides were quick to stress that while the first-look relationship is ending, along with a significant Miramax discretionary fund, it would not affect the shingle’s relationship with Tarantino.

“We have enjoyed tremendous success with Lawrence over the years and look forward to continuing to make great films with him in the future,” said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. “We’re excited about our current collaborations like ‘Kill Bill,’ ‘The Great Raid’ and the upcoming ‘Havana Nights,’ along with our other projects in development.”

It was through his substantial discretionary fund that Bender acquired remake rights to the 1987 hit “Dirty Dancing.” Pic will be set in 1959 Cuba this time around.

Miramax and Artisan have tapped Guy Ferland to direct the pic, with pre-production to begin this fall, Bender producing and Miramax and Artisan co-financing. Artisan will distribute the pic domestically while Miramax will handle international distribution via Buena Vista Intl.

“The Great Raid,” a Benjamin Bratt-Ralph Fiennes starrer set in the Philippines during WWII, is lensing in Australia, with Bender producing with Marty Katz.

The WMA-repped Bender said that he was not sure where his shingle may next hang. “I haven’t been dating much,” he laughed, adding that may change soon.

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