Exec helped WB reach record-breaking heights

Veteran international film executive Edward Frumkes is joining Mutual Film Co. as a partner with founder Gary Levinsohn.

Move marks Frumkes’ first foray back into the film business since 2000, when he ankled as prexy of international distribution and marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures.

It also comes on the heels of Mutual partner Don Granger’s departure to take a senior executive post with C/W Prods., the Paramount-based company run by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.

Mutual plans to step up its financing and international distribution presence as it shops for a first-look studio deal.

Mutual co-founder Levinsohn praised as “unparalleled” Frumkes’ “reputation and relationships, both here and internationally,” in his two-decade career. Frumkes began in 1981 at Columbia Pictures, rising to VP of advertising and publicity in 1987. He joined Warner Bros. in 1988 as director of the international theatrical division and became its prexy in 1996.

During his 13-year tenure at Warners, Frumkes played a key role in opening up markets in China, Indonesia and Korea to U.S. distributors, overseeing Warner Bros. hits such as “The Fugitive,” “The Bodyguard,” “JFK,” “The Matrix,” and the “Batman” and “Lethal Weapon” franchises. In 1999, Frumkes delivered a record-breaking year for the studio internationally with receipts totaling $1.1 billion.

Frumkes, said his new Mutual gig was “the opportunity … I have been looking for since I chose to leave Warner Bros.”

Mutual recently co-financed Paramount films “Timeline” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” It now has about a dozen development projects, including “Lone Wolf and Cub,” a Western to be directed by Darren Aronofsky; and “The Authority,” a drama produced by Sony-based Neal Moritz’s Original shingle.

Since 1992, Levinsohn has produced and/or co-financed 19 major films with production budgets totaling about $1 billion, of which Levinsohn arranged more than $500 million in co-financing.

Mutual was founded by Levinsohn and Mark Gordon in 1996. Its credits include “Saving Private Ryan,” “Wonder Boys,” “The Patriot,” “A Simple Plan” and the “Tomb Raider” franchise. After a five-year run, Levinsohn and Gordon parted ways in September 2000, dissolving their partnership but with Levinsohn retaining the Mutual moniker.

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