Pot could hit $100 million in first two years
Icon Group U.K., owned by Access Industries, and the Weinstein Co. are launching a film finance-production fund that could reach up to $100 million in worth over its initial two years.Fund, which will be administered by Icon, will focus on commercially viable pics in the $5 million to $20 million range. TWC will handle domestic distribution for projects while Icon will handle U.K. distribution. Other territories will be split between the two outfits. Icon’s London-based prexy Hugo Grumbar and TWC chief operating officer David Glasser, based in Gotham, will spearhead the fund. It is fully backed by industrialist Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, which bought Icon’s U.K. assets in November 2009 with former Polygram chief Stewart Till, now Icon CEO. Grumbar said the deal was brokered with the intention of gaining better access to the domestic market via TWC in addition to accessing TWC’s talent. He noted that both distribs had picked up similar titles in the past, including “Nowhere Boy,” “The Box,” “A Single Man” and “The Road.” “There’s an enormous amount of talent out there and both of us want to get into producing smaller-level films,” he said. “This fund seemed like a natural progression for us.” “As we witness the shuttering of independent film divisions at the studios, we see this collaboration of like-minded companies as a tremendous opportunity to embrace the numerous opportunities out there,” Glasser said. Till added: “This is a great deal on two counts. Firstly, it fits our more aggressive acquisitions and production strategy, and secondly, it’s a fantastic opportunity to work with a newly rejuvenated TWC.” TWC has lifted itself out of its debt-restructuring and is making a concerted effort to make its reinvigorated presence known. It is behind buzz title “The King’s Speech” and acquired a string of hot titles at the Toronto Film Festival, including “Submarine,” “Dirty Girl” and “Sarah’s Key.” Grumbar said Icon and TWC are already discussing projects to greenlight. “We both want to make movies that are going to sell internationally and domestically,” Grumbar said. “There will be loud voices on either side of the table and there’s no point in us sitting around as we’ve already seen so many things that fit the bill.”
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