Banners will develop projects together

In the first of what are expected to be multiple long-term producer deals, Mandalay Pictures has sealed a first-look pact with Richard Gladstein and his FilmColony banner.

Mandalay will provide development money for the producer’s projects and collaborate on big-budget features over the next two years. While such arrangements are common between studios and filmmakers, a development pact between two production companies is rare.

Mandalay may collaborate with Gladstein on a project he’s been developing for years, an adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s trippy tome “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

Gladstein and Gus Van Sant, who is attached to direct, are supervising a draft by Gustin Nash (“Youth in Revolt”) with an eye toward setting up the project at a studio.

“It is Mandalay’s continuing goal to provide creative and business support for filmmakers with a unique vision and proven track record,” said Mandalay Pictures prexy Cathy Schulman. “By forming this pact with Richard, one of the most capable and entrepreneurial producers, we are also able to expand Mandalay’s production portfolio.At a time when other companies are eliminating producer deals, we are excited to become a home for talented and terrific producers.”

“I am very excited to begin this new chapter of producing films — in collaboration with Peter Guber, Cathy Schulman and their group at Mandalay,” said Gladstein, whose 16-year-old outfit will now be based in Mandalay’s Los Angeles offices. “Our sensibilities and producing outlook (are) very similar and the entrepreneurial structure of our deal will allow me to create many new projects with Peter and Cathy as producing partners.”

Gladstein has produced studio pictures — “The Bourne Identity,” “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” — and specialty films — “Paper Man,” “She’s All That.” He said he may work with Mandalay’s new independent development, production and financing label Mandalay Vision (“The Kids Are All Right”) under the non-exclusive pact, but his initial discussions with Guber and Schulman have centered on bigger-budget studio fare.

Any collaborations will likely be presented to Universal Pictures via Mandalay’s first-look deal with the distrib.

“Had I not done this deal, I could bring a project to Universal on my own without them, but I couldn’t develop that idea, article, book or script and better it with them and then bring it to Universal and others,” said Gladstein. “Mandalay spends money on development, and that’s increasingly harder to find.”

Mandalay is prepping “Sinatra” with Martin Scorsese and Universal, “Our Wild Life” with New Line Cinema, and “The Limit,” starring Tobey Maguire, at Columbia, among other projects. Mandalay Vision recently sold the Sundance hit “Salvation Boulevard” to IFC Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, and its biopic “Soul Surfer” will be released next month by FilmDistrict and TriStar.

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