MadRiver, Riverstone Seal Production, Financing Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

Partners look to finance-produce two-to-four films annually in the $15 million-$50 million budget range

Marc Butan’s MadRiver Pictures and Reliance Entertainment’s Riverstone Pictures have pacted to finance, develop and produce a slate of movies in the $15 million-$50 million range. The pair aim to make between two and four director- and star-driven films per year.

Adding heft to the announcement, the nine-month old MadRiver revealed that Kimberly Fox has become a company partner. She will head a new international sales arm.

Founded by Deepak Nayar and Nik Bower, and backed by leading U.K. media investor Ingenious, Riverstone will also make a multi-million dollar start-up contribution in to a development fund for MadRiver. That will allow the company to accelerate its feature-film development drive.

“Our interest and business acumen are closely aligned with Nik and Deepak at Riverstone,” said MadRiver Pictures founder Butan. “We look forward to a successful collaboration on a bold slate of films with widespread international appeal.”

“We are delighted to be in business with MadRiver Pictures, with whom we share a vision and an entrepreneurial energy that bodes well for the success of this venture,” said Nayar.

The MadRiver-Riverstone alliance aligns two ambitious and expanding companies.

Riverstone recently inked a multi-year, multi-picture financing and production agreement with Open Road Films. First fruit of that deal is Baran bo Odar’s thriller, “Sleepless Night,” starring Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan. Riverstone also financed Michael Grandage’s biopic “Genius,” with Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Laura Linney. “Genius” has its world premiere at Berlin and is one of the festival’s highest-profile selections.

MadRiver’s upcoming slate features John Hillcoat’s “Triple 9” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul and Anthony Mackie, which Open Road Films releases Feb. 26. It also has James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z,” toplining Charlie Hunnam. MadRiver’s sales arm will also represent films from Vendian Entertainment, a company that has made a strategic investment in MadRiver Pictures and which will provide equity finance to the company’s productions.

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