Radar has zeroed in on the money.
Ted Field’s Radar Pictures has set up its own independent financing structure to co-finance 25 studio films with budgets around $20 million during the next five years. The fund is not exclusive to any one studio and will provide financing for 50% of the production budget of each pic.
The establishment of a film-financing fund is part of Field’s growth strategy for Radar as he builds the company much in the way he did the iconoclastic Interscope Records.
With a backing venture, Radar now has the opportunity to establish a library of films (Radar and the fund will split ownership 50-50), and added cash reserves open up the possibility of media acquisitions for the company. Radar also will be more active as a producer, upping its average of producing about three films per year to five.
The Radar fund is the latest example of producers coming up with their own financing in an environment in which studios are increasingly seeking to offset risk with outside financing. Radar is unique, however, in not being exclusive to one particular studio.
The financial partners in Radar’s fund are a combination of equity financiers and high net-worth individuals, including JP Morgan & Co., D.E. Shaw & Co., Kevin Flynn, the Rothman family, Cardinal Growth, GE Capital, US Bank, CIT and Mercantile Bank.
Architects of the fund are Radar execs Keith Yokomoto and David Boyle.
The first Radar film to be co-financed by the fund is “Multiple Mary,” a comedy that Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “Starsky and Hutch”) is rewriting and directing for New Line. Pic, for which Armstrong received a payday of $2.5 million, is the scribe’s directorial debut.
The film landed at New Line last week after a heated bidding war involving Universal and Warner Bros.
Armstong, who until now has had a first-look deal with Radar, also has landed a two-year overhead deal at New Line, where he’s currently producing the Radar comedy “Jeff the Demon,” starring Will Arnett.
In “Multiple Mary,” a man finally meets the woman of his dreams only to discover another man is already in love with her. He’s up for the competition, but there’s a catch: She has multiple personalities, and each man must root for “his” woman to win as she aims to regain her mental health.
Armstrong will rewrite an original script by Jay Dyer; the project was brought to him and developed with Radar.
Radar’s Field is producing with Armstrong and Ravi Nandan under their American Work banner.
Joe Rosenberg exec produces and Lindsey Paulson will co-produce.
The terms between Radar and its financial partners stipulate that films co-financed by the fund must be set up at a major studio, with the studio putting up the additional 50% financing. Radar will continue to self-fund the development of pics up until the point they land at a studio.
Field said remaining non-exclusive to any one studio was key in structuring Radar’s fund.
“I really like that it’s not attached to one studio, because I really want a studio to particularly want a project for us to do it,” he told Daily Variety. “And I think it’s much better to have an arm’s-length negotiation at the time and really figure out which studio is really going to do the best job of marketing something, rather than having an output situation where you have to run films through the same distributor every time, even if they may not want them.”
Radar traditionally has maintained an independent stance, Field said. “We haven’t had an overall studio deal since the very early days at Disney. We like being independent. We like not being on a lot and developing material away from studios — getting things to where we’re happy with them.
“It’s still a business of compromise — you have to find sponsors and believers at the studio, that’s a big part of the equation. But we like to spend some time developing our projects first.”
As for what projects Radar will pursue going forward, Field said the company was “sticking to its knitting” and would continue to produce modestly budgeted comedy and genre pics.
“Films in the $10 million to $35 million range — that’s my sweet spot,” said Field, whose first produced movie was 1984’s “Revenge of the Nerds.” “It’s where I like to work, because I’m attracted to movies that are conceptual and marketable and don’t necessarily need big stars.”
Radar’s recent releases include remakes of “The Amityville Horror” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” as well as “The Last Samurai” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.”
Shingle is currently shooting a remake of “The Heartbreak Kid,” directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, at DreamWorks. Radar is prepping “The Horsemen,” starring Dennis Quaid and Ziyi Zhang, which is being produced with Mandate and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes.