Three-year deal covers two pics per year

Exclusive Media and Cross Creek Pictures have launched a three-year deal to co-finance, co-produce and co-develop at least two features per year with budgets up to $65 million.

First project from the new partnership is the long-in-development thriller “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” starring Liam Neeson and directed by Scott Frank. Based on Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder books, “Tombstones” will be produced by Double Feature Films partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher with Danny DeVito and his Jersey Films.

Principal photography is set to start in February in New York.

All films will be released theatrically in the U.S. through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with Universal. Exclusive Media will sell international rights to the titles.

Deal was unveiled Thursday at Cannes by Exclusive Media co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East and Cross Creek prexy Brian Oliver.

Cross Creek, which emerged two years ago as a significant player when it backed “Black Swan,” and Exclusive Media have already partnered on Ron Howard’s racing drama “Rush,” “The Ides of March” and “The Woman in Black.”

Universal is releasing “Rush,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, next year.

Jersey Films began working on “A Walk Among the Tombstones” in 1998 when Universal Pictures acquired the film rights and signed Frank to adapt. In 2002, Harrison Ford and “Narc” director Joe Carnahan were attached to the project.

“Tombstones” follows a former NYPD cop, now an unlicensed private eye and a recovering alcoholic, hired to find the kidnapped wife of a drug dealer.

The Exclusive Media-Cross Creek deal also gives both companies the first opportunity to co-finance and co-produce pictures outside those set for the Universal pipeline. The companies also announced that they are creating a six-figure revolving development fund to source properties.

Exclusive Media’s Marc Schipper negotiated the deal with Cross Creek’s Oliver. Exclusive Media’s Tobin Armbrust will oversee the new relationship.

Neeson is in Universal’s “Battleship” and Warner’s upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises.”

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