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Warner Bros. inks first-look deal with Gulfstream

New shingle launching with mix of U.S., Korean coin

Mike Karz and Bill Bindley’s new film production and financing banner Gulfstream Pictures has signed an exclusive first-look deal with Warner Bros. to co-finance films.

Two-year pact, announced Tuesday, launches with an initial multimillion-dollar development fund from Korean 3D firm Redrover Ltd. and a consortium of U.S. private equity funds.

Deal calls for Gulfstream to be based on the Warner lot in Burbank and co-finance development with the studio with the option of co-financing the films, to be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Gulfstream is meeting with additional investors to complete the formation of a $200 million film fund; Redrover and the U.S. private equity funds are lead investors.

Gulfstream plans to produce and co-finance two films per year, starting with “The Nut Job,” a $45 million animated feature directed by Peter Lepeniotis for Redrover and Toronto-based animation studio Toonbox Entertainment, which becomes a sister company to Gulfstream.

Redrover CEO Hoe-jin Ha said in a statement, “This opportunity is a historic step for the Korean film industry. We are very excited to set up this fund, supported by Warner Bros., and we look forward to co-financing many films through this partnership with Gulfstream.”

Warner Bros. has about three dozen production deals, including longstanding co-financing pacts with Legendary Entertainment and Village Roadshow.

Karz produced ensemble romantic comedies “New Year’s Eve” and “Valentine’s Day,” both solid performers for New Line. Karz also produced basketball comedy “Thunderstruck,” starring Kevin Durant and directed by John Whitesell, which saw a limited release from Warner Bros. last weekend.

Bindley and Karz are also producing a pair of projects for Warners: comedy “West Texas United” with Russell Brand attached to star and family comedy “Say Uncle,” with Bindley attached to direct.

Karz and Bindley told Variety that the idea of a partnership with Redrover arose in the wake of their producing work on “Nut Job,” which is currently in production with plans for completion next year.

“The film is a real showcase for what Toonbox can do,” Karz added.

The duo said that the partnership plans to develop films for Warner in all ranges.

“We’ve both worked with Warner Bros. for a decade so we have a good idea what the studio wants,” Bindley said.

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