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Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman Sign Production Deal With Universal

Universal Pictures has entered into a two-year, first-look production agreement with Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman’s Brownstone Prods.

The deal was announced with Universal gearing up to open “Pitch Perfect 2,” which Banks directed, starred in and produced, on May 15.  Co-presidents of production Peter Cramer and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum made the announcement.

Banks also produced and starred in “Pitch Perfect,” a surprise hit in 2013. Handelman and Banks have been married since 2003.

“Not only is Elizabeth an incredibly gifted actress, but she and Max have done a great job producing the ‘Pitch Perfect’ franchise, and her work directing ‘Pitch 2’ has resulted in a simply outstanding film,” said Cramer.  “They are a formidable team, and we are thrilled to formalize our long-standing relationship with them by welcoming Brownstone to our lot.”

Brownstone is developing two projects for Lionsgate — a film based on the book “White Girl Problems” and an adaptation of Ally Carter’s “Heist Society.” The company has teamed with Paramount Digital Entertainment on the comedy series “Resident Advisors” for Hulu to premiere in the spring.

Brownstone also produced the 2009 Disney sci-fier “Surrogates,” starring Bruce Willis and Rosamund Pike, and is developing a live-action feature based on the character Tinkerbell for Disney.

Universal has nearly 30 first-look deals, including pacts with Jason Bateman, Jason Blum and Vince Vaughn as well as Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine.

Brownstone Productions’ offices will relocate to the Universal lot. It was represented in the deal by Untitled Entertainment, UTA and Ziffren Brittenham.

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