Todd Garner’s Broken Road Partners With Covert Media

Todd Garner’s Broken Road Productions has signed a two-year first-look deal with Covert Media covering co-financing and co-production.

Broken Road’s films have included the two “Paul Blart” movies for Sony, Tom Cruise’s “Knight and Day” and New Line’s disaster thriller “Into the Storm” during its 11-year history. The company had a long-term first-look deal with Sony that expired recently.

Covert was founded in August by financing veteran Paul Hanson, who is CEO. It announced earlier this month that it was financing “Ophelia” as a new take on “Hamlet” with “Star Wars: Force Awakens” standout Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts in final negotiations to star.

The alliance is expecting to collaborate on two to four films per year. The companies said the deal will cover a wide range of genres and budgets, reflecting the expertise of the Broken Road team, which includes Garner, Sean Robins and Jeremy Stein. Covert Media will handle global distribution rights on all titles.

The duo told Variety that discussions of a partnership began only a few months ago with a focus on filling the gap in mid-range projects with wide appeal — an area of diminished activity for the six major studios, which have allocated increasing amounts of resources to tentpoles and franchises.

“I think we are very much in synch with the needs of the marketplace,” Hanson added.

“This is a match made in heaven for me and Broken Road,” said Garner. “Paul and the team at Covert are consummate professionals with great appreciation for what is working in the worldwide marketplace today. The flexibility of independent filmmaking and financing allow us to be more entrepreneurial in the ever changing feature film landscape. Our creative ambitions can become a reality.”

Covert and Broken Road are preparing and packaging several titles to present to buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival in September with the first two to be announced in coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to be working with Todd and Broken Road,” Hanson said. “Todd has a perfect eye for distinctive, commercial and quality films spanning a wide range of genres. Together our goal is to bring well-made, high-end projects to the worldwide marketplace that reflect Todd’s experience and passion.”

Garner has developed, executive produced or produced more than 100 movies. He’s the former co-president of production for Walt Disney Studios, Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures and joined Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios as a partner in 2000, then oversaw “Black Hawk Down,” “Hellboy” and “Daddy Day Care.”

He also was an executive producer on “XXX,” “Anger Management,” “13 Going on 30” and “Are We There Yet?”

Upcoming projects for Broken Road include “Vacation Friends” for Fox starring Ice Cube; the recently announced “Bad Romance” for New Line with Rebel Wilson; and “True Memoirs of an International Assassin,” starring Kevin James and Andy Garcia, which Netflix is distributing later this year.

Covert is a partnership between global private equity fund Media Content Capital (MCC) and Hanson. Along with Covert’s own upcoming production slate, the company will service and support the library and upcoming projects for MCC-owned QED, including “Dirty Grandpa,” “Fury” and “The Family Fang.”

The first look deal was negotiated by Covert’s Chet Devaskar with Jacob A. Bloom and Patrick Knapp of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, Laviolette, Feldman, Schenkman & Goodman negotiating on behalf of Garner and Broken Road Productions.

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