‘Hackers,’ ‘Babysitter’ booked with ‘Love Boat’

Spelling Films Intl. made it official that it will set sail this summer with “Love Boat: The Movie” (Daily Variety, Jan. 4). Its sales arm announced two additional upcoming projects, the high-tech youth adventure “Hackers” and the erotic thriller “The Babysitter.”

“This represents a vote of confidence from the management and (majority shareholder) Blockbuster,” said SFI managing director Mitch Horwits. “I think we demonstrated just what can be done with A titles of quality last year on ‘Short Cuts’ and ‘Shadowlands,’ ” which Spelling co-financed and sold overseas. “So, if the projects we’re developing fall into place, we’ll step up and handle five or six titles very quickly.”

“The Babysitter,” a$ 2 million erotic thriller centered on a young temptress, marks the company’s first time out fully financing a production. The debut directing effort of writer Guy Ferland, a protegee of Joel Schumacher (who exec produces), it’s in its third week of filming with a cast featuring Alison Silverstone, George Segal, Jeremy London and J.T. Walsh. Kevin Messick and Steve Perry produce.

“It’s a project we liked and had tried to set up for some time,” said senior VP Denis Pregnolato.

Spelling is partnered with United Artists in “Hackers” and will retain all foreign rights. Rafael Moreau’s script centers on teenage computer whizzes who stumble onto an implanted virus that’s programmed to start an ecological catastrophe. Pregnolato said it’s on a fast track with producers Michael Peyser and Janet Graham about to confirm a director for the summer shoot.

SFI senior veep Dawn Handler said the “Love Boat” movie, to be produced by David Permut and handled by New Line domestically, will be a parody in the vein of “Airplane.” Unabashedly seen as a strong potential franchise, she was clear that the film would not involve the original TV cast in significant roles.

Spelling is providing a taste of the three new titles at the AFM.

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