Fright pics just right for Phoenix, Franchise

Companies looking at horror co-prod'ns

Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures and Elie Samaha’s Franchise Pictures are in talks to co-produce a slate of six to 10 horror pics over an 18-month period. The films will be budgeted at $15 million and under.

Franchise will rep foreign sales on the pics, which will be released under a shared label. The shingles are also in discussions to sign a domestic output partner.

A horror label has long been in the Phoenix game plan, with Medavoy viewing it as a low-cost, high-return venture.

Thanks to the “Urban Legend” franchise, Phoenix has enjoyed some of its most profitable B.O. success in the scary-movie genre.

Franchise has an output deal with Warner Bros., but the horror pics fall below that deal’s budget threshold. The arthouse films that Samaha produced under the Franchise Classics label followed a similar model.

Among the titles Franchise is repping at the 2003 American Film Market are “Void Moon” from Paul Verhoeven, Kevin Reynolds’ “Tristan and Isolde” and David Mamet’s “Spartan.”

Upcoming for Phoenix in 2003 are Columbia Pictures’ “Basic,” starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, and Disney’s “Holes,” starring Sigourney Weaver. Shingle is going into production on John Boorman’s “Country of My Skull,” starring Jackson and Juliette Binoche.

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