Helmer's banner sets first-look pact after eight years at Mouse House
After eight years at Walt Disney Studios, director-producer Adam Shankman and producer Jennifer Gibgot have signed with New Line a nonexclusive, multiyear, first-look production deal for their Offspring Entertainment banner.Shankman and Gibgot have already produced three pics for New Line — “Hairspray,” which Shankman helmed; “17 Again”; and “Going the Distance” — and are in pre-production for New Line’s “Rock of Ages,” which begins shooting May 23 in Miami. “This is a great way to start our next chapter,” Shankman told Variety on Tuesday. “We had a great run at Disney, and this is a way for us to focus on more grown-up projects.” Shankman formed Offspring with Gibgot — his sibling and former Tapestry Films partner — when the duo first signed their Disney deal in late 2002 following his collaboration with the Mouse House on the Steve Martin-Queen Latifah laffer “Bringing Down the House.” Shankman went on to direct and produce “The Pacifier” and “Bedtime Stories” for Disney with Gibgot producing. The duo also produced “The Last Song” four Disney and all four “Step-Up” movies for Summit and Disney (the fourth iteration is now in pre-production). New Line prexy Toby Emmerich told Variety that he was particularly pleased with the performances of “Hairspray” and “17 Again” as both pics attracted a broad demographic. He also said Offspring will be able to fit in well with New Line’s increased focus on tentpole properties. “I think that they have shown a real ability to develop properties, so this is a great next step,” he added. Offspring execs include exec VP Matt Smith, story editor Tom Kuljurgis and Jimmy Badstibner, who’s an associate producer on “Rock of Ages.” Shankman said Offspring has about two dozen projects in development, most notably “Matched,” an adaptation of Ally Condie’s sci-fi romance, and Tinker Bell project “Tink,” both at Disney; and “Mean Moms” at New Line, based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2006 tome “Queen Bee Moms and King Pin Dads: Dealing With the Parents, Teachers, Coaches and Counselors Who Can Make — or Break — Your Child’s Future.” After a career as a top Hollywood choreographer, Shankman made his directorial debut in 2001 with the Gibgot-produced “The Wedding Planner,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey. He also directed Mandy Moore starrer “A Walk to Remember” for Warner Bros. and “Cheaper by the Dozen 2″ for Fox. “Rock of Ages” cast includes Malin Akerman, Tom Cruise, “Dancing With the Stars” champ Julianne Hough, Bryan Cranston, Diego Boneta, Paul Giamatti and Mary J. Blige. New Line has set a June 1, 2012, release. In addition to directing, Shankman is choreographing “Rock of Ages.” Gibgot is producing the tuner, built around rock hits of the 1980s, with Matt Weaver, Scott Prisand and Garrett Grant.