Mike Medavoy will close down Phoenix Pictures in 2013 following two decades of film production including “Black Swan,” “Shutter Island,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “The Thin Red Line” and “Zodiac.”
Medavoy told Variety on Friday that he would shutter the company and sell the library in two years in order to spend more time with his family and to focus on passion projects outside the Phoenix banner.
“I want to do what excites me and I want to spend more time with my family, since I now have a 13-year-old son,” he said. “As always, I’m ready for new challenges.”
Phoenix is in production on “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and will be the production entity on several other existing Phoenix projects such as “The Last Voyage of Demeter,” which Medavoy said is probably the most likely to go into production next. And he’ll continue to work on projects outside the Phoenix banner with Phoenix president Arnie Messer, co-presidents Bradley Fischer and David Thwaits and VPs Christopher Trunkey, Edward McGurn and Doug McKay.
Medavoy and McKay announced a week ago that they had obtained rights to Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine,” which will be produced outside Phoenix. In July, Medavoy and McGurn reached a deal to develop and produce a feature film about the 33 Chilean miners rescued from the San Jose Mine last year, with Jose Rivera (“Motorcycle Diaries”) writing the script.
Medavoy has been involved in more than 300 films — including seven that have won the best-picture Oscar going back to 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He also penned a 2002 biography, “You’re Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot.”
“I’ve done all kinds of films — ‘Terminator,’ ‘RoboCop,’ ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ ‘Philadelphia’ — so what I can say is that if it’s different, then it intrigues me,” Medavoy told Variety two years ago.
The producer’s more-than-four decade Hollywood career has encompassed stints as co-chief at United Artists, Orion and Columbia. Phoenix, notably, was involved in more than 25 films with the same exec team in place.
Its last first-look deal with Sony — under which Phoenix would supply part of the production costs — expired in 2004, with “The Sixth Man” the final pic made under that arrangement. Phoenix’s business model focuses on putting together packages, taking them to studios and then navigating the development process, even if it takes years.
Medavoy announced in June that he and Shanghai Film Group were teaming on a feature film and a TV miniseries, both set in China during WWII.
Medavoy, who was born in Shanghai in 1941, lived the first six years of his life there before immigrating to Chile and then the U.S.
He also produced the WWII thriller “Shanghai,” which hasn’t yet been released by the Weinstein Co.