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Big boys play with toys

U.K. directors team on action films brand initative

EXCLUSIVE– Brit helmers Scott Mann (“The Tournament”), Neil Marshall (“The Descent”), Michael J. Bassett (“Solomon Kane”) and Adrian Vitoria (“Age of Heroes”) are joining forces on an action brand initiative, Boys With Toys, that aims to create high octane, high concept pics on lean budgets.

The concept, which was conceived by Mann and his producer James Edward Barker, has been launched by Mann’s shingle Mann Made Films, Barker’s Veneration Music and German outfit the Very Useful Co.

Its first slate will consist of six pics with a total budget of $123 million.

The Very Useful Co.’s Claus Clausen and Steffen Aumueller will also develop, create and co-produce the slate.

The Germany-based shingle has produced 12 pics in the past four years including Woody Harrelson starrer “The Messenger.”

The finance structure of Boys With Toys consists of up to 50% private equity on any given film with the remainder covered by pre-sales and tax rebates.

Barker said the aim for the brand is to “bring bolder and more exciting commercial films to the U.K.”

“Our ethos is to devise and deliver product where its core market and production value could far exceed its production cost,” Barker said.

“We are also championing a specific identity, which has always been important to us, the result of which is that buyers and consumers alike will know instantly what type of film they are buying or going to see.”

Mann, which Variety recently reported would direct the Weinstein Co.’s remake of “Seven Samurai,” said the concept “sees a group of like-minded directors supporting each other and protecting each other to create a recognizable and unique identity.”

Boys With Toys will also venture into video gaming and multimedia apps while Barker’s music company, Veneration Music, will oversee all the score coordination under the brand.

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