Luck, money, hard work, end of 'Rings' trilogy spur prod'n spree
A correction was made to this article on May 2, 2005.
If there’s any slate envy at the Cannes market, it’s most likely to be inspired by New Line’s packed sales roster.
“We have 10 new films. It’s the biggest Cannes slate we’ve had in the history of the company, and the first time we’ve had such a wide range of projects,” says distrib and marketing topper Rolf Mittweg, a 17-year New Line vet.
The Time Warner subsid, which acts more like a large indie, produces an autonomous slate and handles its own distribution domestically and overseas.
Production chief Toby Emmerich — who will be in Cannes for six days this year — says the recent flurry has as much to do with the company emerging from its three-year focus on “The Lord of the Rings,” as it does with luck, money and hard work.
He compares the production spree to when you “walk into Barneys or Neimans, and you’re in the mood, and you’ve got that credit card in your pocket. But the honest answer is we’ve been cranking very hard to acquire and develop the projects we want to make. And if you have the financial wherewithal to do it, you do it.”
Much is in production now or headed before cameras soon. Beyond the aforementioned ten (listed below), there are additional pics that New Liners say could be talked about more definitively on the Croisette. “Three of the highest-profile films we’re also flirting with right now are ‘Hairspray,’ ‘Rush Hour 3’ and ‘Elf 2,'” Emmerich notes. There’s also the long-gestating epic “His Dark Materials” and “Time Travelers Wife,” helmed by Gus Van Sant.
Along with completing sales on 2005 releases “Monster in Law” and “Wedding Crashers,” and Cannes fest competition title “A History of Violence,” New Line has the following pics headed for market:
- “Cheating Death: Final Destination 3,” second sequel to the creepy horror-thriller, starring a young cast. Pic shot $1 million worth of extra footage for interactive components such as alternate endings (in production).
- “The Martian Child,” sci-fi drama about a widower who adopts a boy who thinks he’s from Mars, starring sibs John and Joan Cusack, and Amanda Peet; directed by Menno Meyjes (in production).
- “Mr. Woodcock,” comedy about a man who returns to his hometown to find his mother marrying his former gym teacher, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Susan Sarandon and Seann William Scott (in production).
- “Take the Lead,” urban drama starring Antonio Banderas as a ballroom-dancing teacher in New York’s public school system (in production).
- “Hoot,” family pic based on Carl Hiassen’s popular childrens novel. Helmed by Wil Shriner, pic’s producers are Frank Marshall and Jimmy Buffett, with the latter also providing music (pre-production).
- “Little Children,” drama toplined by Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly, helmed by “In the Bedroom” director Todd Field (pre-production).
- “Meg,” big-budget f/x thriller about a prehistoric megashark, directed by Jan de Bont (fast-track project).
- “Pacific Air 121” (aka “Snakes on a Plane”), action-horror thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson (pre-production).
- “Solace,” big-budget psychological thriller about a psychic mercy killer, starring Bruce Willis and helmed by Shekhar Kapur (pre-production).
- “Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny,” comedy starring Jack Black and Kyle Gass about a musical duo that becomes the greatest band on Earth (pre-production).