Universal Pictures-based Bubble Factory will bring two low-budget, family feature projects – “The Pest” and “Stinkers” – over to TriStar Pictures and Sony Distribution with plans to get them into production by summer, the companies announced Nov. 15.
TriStar will fully finance both pics – budgeted at about $8 million each – and Sony will have all domestic, foreign and homevid rights.
TriStar announced that “The Pest” will star John Leguizamo as a mischievous scam artist trying to avoid his pursuers by playing a number of colorful characters. David Bar Katz wrote the original screenplay. Paul Miller will helm the project, which is slated to start shooting in April.
“Stinkers” is scripted by Bob Wolterstoff and Mike Scott. No director or talent is attached to the project, about a group of 7-year-olds’ adventure at an aquarium. That pic should roll into production by midsummer. Some observers find the deal curious because the Bubble Factory was established in July by former U prexy and COO Sid Sheinberg and his two sons, Jon and Bill, with “greenlighting” capability at Universal.
According to the Bubble-U agreement, the production company can automatically greenlight three to four pictures – budgeted at about $8 million to $35 million each – per year for U to distribute.
On pics budgeted under $8 million, however, it becomes a first-look pact that allows Universal to pass.
Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Cos. chairman Mark Canton said the studio loved the projects as well as the notion of doing more with the Bubble Factory in the future.
Anita M. Busch,Dan Cox and Andrew Hindes contributed to this report