3 Arts, Fox pact

Twentieth Century Fox has signed an exclusive two-year first-look production deal with 3 Arts Entertainment for the management/production company to develop a slate of feature film projects.

High on the list of feature projects already being eyed to fall under the new deal will be the football comedy “Second String,” which is currently being written by Larry Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Keanu Reeves is loosely attached to the project.

A second project is the Jon Lovitz-starrer “Kick the Can,” which is going through script revisions.

“Through their various clients, we have gotten to know this company quite well,” noted Tom Jacobson, Fox prexy of worldwide production. “Erwin, Howard and Michael have a proven track record with comedy and strong ties to the creative community.”

The three partners at 3 Arts are talent manager-producers Erwin Stoff, Howard Klein and Michael Rotenberg. They formed their company in 1990 and, to date, have exec produced in various capacities a handful of feature films and produced a larger slate of television projects under a first-look arrangement with HBO Independent Prods.

It was their work in television, especially with the Fox Broadcasting Co., that brought them into contact with Fox chair Peter Chernin, back in the days when he headed up FBC.

Among their projects at FBC are the series “Down the Shore” and the upcoming “Daddy Dearest.”

“Two and a half years ago we made a deal on the TV side which gave our television business a real focus,” said Stoff. “But our movie business has been all over the place.

“Having the support of one studio, the obligation to go to one place, having a consistent dialogue with that studio — especially a studio that is peopled with executives with whom we have very strong, very successful previous relationships — allows us to take the same step forward in film as we did with TV,” he said.

Among the other feature projects currently in development are the Pauly Shore-starrer “Protect and Serve.” Fox exex have also agreed to help 3 Arts develop a franchised character for Keanu Reeves.

The feature film projects that have come out of 3 Arts’ talent pool so far have included “National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1,””Encino Man,””Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,””Excessive Force,””Hexed” and “Son-in-Law,” all of which various 3 Arts partners have either singly or jointly exec produced.

Stoff said another reason for signing with Fox was that there’s a “real simpatico of sensibilities” between 3 Arts and Fox exex.

“One of the things that Peter (Chernin) and Tom (Jacobson) intend on doing is serving a young market,” Stoff said. “That’s something that our own people and the sensibilities of our people lend themselves to very well. We want to create films for that next generation.”

On the 3 Arts client list, in addition to Pauly Shore and Keanu Reeves, are writer Andy Breckman and directors Scott Winant and Michael Dinner.

Included in 3 Arts’ management team are Erik Kritzer, Ray McKigney and Daniel Rappaport.