Longtime writing and producing partners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are parting ways in their filmmaking endeavors after nearly a decade together. The pair have worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest franchise films including “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” two “Transformers” movies, “Mission Impossible III” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” They also collaborated on indie titles such as “Now You See Me” and “People Like Us,” which Kurtzman also directed.
Kurtzman and Orci — who will remain in business together on the TV front–are parting amicably, according to sources, and the split will allow them to pursue separate feature careers as directors. The two still have more than a dozen projects in development, including the next two “Spider-Man” films. It is unclear how those projects will be handled or divided between the two men. Their production company, K/O Paper Products, which they launched in 2009, will most likely be reconfigured to accommodate their separation in the feature arena.
Orci is currently laser focused on the upcoming “Star Trek 3.” He’s already been tapped to pen the picture along with Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, and he’s lobbying heavily to direct the production. The film’s co-producers, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and David Ellison’s Skydance, appear to be in favor of Orci helming the film, but people familiar with the situation say that Paramount is being cautious. If Orci lands the assignment, “Star Trek 3” would mark his directorial debut.
Meanwhile, Kurtzman has been tapped to direct “Venom,” Sony’s “Spider-Man” spinoff. He wrote the script with Orci and Ed Solomon, who also produced last summer’s runaway magic-centric film “Now You See Me” with the pair.
Kurtzman is also working on a solo deal with Universal to oversee monster movie franchises that include “The Mummy” and “Van Helsing.”
On the TV side, Kurtzman and Orci have a rich overall deal with CBS TV Studios and have been on a roll the past few seasons. The scribes got their start in the biz on the 1990s syndie series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and are known for a high-octane blend of fantasy and action fare. They are also widely viewed as conscientious producers with a solid team at their K/O banner, which moved last year from 20th Century Fox TV to CBS.
Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote the pilot for Fox’s fantasy-drama “Sleepy Hollow,” which was a breakout hit for Fox this season. They are juggling pilots at present for CBS (“Scorpion”) and the CW (“Identity”) and a series for Robert Rodriguez’s fledgling cabler El Rey, “Matador.”
They remain exec producers of “Hawaii Five-O,” which is wrapping its fourth season on CBS. They created Fox’s cult-fave “Fringe,” which had a five-season run.
The duo first entered into film producing with the Michael Bay-directed 2005 sci-fi pic “The Island,” a huge flop that cost $126 million to produce and grossed only $162 million globally.
Justin Kroll contributed to this report.