Alcon to co-finance ‘What to Expect’

Company to share costs with Lionsgate

Alcon Entertainment has agreed to co-finance Lionsgate’s “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” — its first such investment outside Warner Bros. and a signal that the 14-year-old financing-production company’s continuing to expand.

The two companies announced Thursday that they will be sharing equally the production and marketing costs on the film. The announcement was made jointly by Lionsgate’s motion picture group president Joe Drake and Alcon toppers Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson.

Pic, which follows several couples through their pregnancies, is scheduled for domestic release on May 11.

Alcon noted that it’s aiming to ramp up its film business.

“Alcon’s participation as ‘passive financiers’ of the project signifies the company’s strategy to generate additional film output, and as such, Johnson and Kosove will not take producer credits,” the announcement said.

Alcon, best known for “The Blind Side,” launched Alcon Management Enterprises two months ago to invest in talent management by acquiring a controlling interest in Madhouse Entertainment, a boutique literary talent management company with 50 clients. In May, Alcon extended its long-term financing and distribution agreement with Warner Bros. Pictures through 2015 — with Alcon having the option to develop, finance, and produce a slate of more modestly budgeted features not necessarily intended for distribution by Warner Bros., which retains first right of refusal.

Alcon’s “Dolphin Tale” has been a solid performer with $68 million domestically and its next release “Joyful Noise,” starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, is due out Jan. 13. It signed Ridley Scott in August to direct a new version of his “Blade Runner” and has a “Point Break” remake in the works.

Alcon Entertainment confirmed Thursday that Scott’s attached, five months after it secured film, TV and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the 1982 future-noir thriller starring Harrison Ford.

As for Lionsgate, it noted Thursday that it’s partnered financially on previous films with Lakeshore Entertainment, Relativity and Crest Animation.

“This co-financing deal is ideal for both of us because it aligns our interests; there is a true sharing of risk capital, including P&A on films that we both see great value in making,” Drake said. “This deal provides a way for Lionsgate to pursue risk mitigation while allowing Alcon to have broader access to commercial content beyond the product they develop themselves.”

“Expecting” is directed by Kirk Jones (“Nanny McPhee”) and stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid and Chris Rock.

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