Shaye, Lynne sign deal with WB

New Line exec VP Mark Kaufman joins duo

Former New Line toppers Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne have signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros., four months after the studio announced massive staff cuts at New Line.

Shaye, who founded New Line in 1967 in his New York apartment, and Lynne will maintain offices in New York and at New Line headquarters in West Hollywood.

The Shaye-Lynne deal hasn’t been officially announced, with sources noting that the duo’s been attempting to raise additional financing prior to taking that step. Longtime New Line exec VP Mark Kaufman (“Hairspray,” “Take the Lead”) has joined the shingle.

Shaye and Lynne departed New Line as part of Warner’s decision to cut costs by refocusing the mini-major on horror, comedy and urban genre pics with an occasional tentpole project such as “The Hobbit.”

Shaye and Lynne oversaw New Line evolve from a crafty indie with specialties in horror and comedy to a full-fledged studio for well over a decade. New Line reached the pinnacle of the film biz in 2003 with “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” as the third installment of the risky $270 million trilogy won the best picture Oscar and grossed $1.1 billion worldwide.

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