You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Castle Rock near split-rights deal

WB, Polygram pacting for production co. rights

Warner Bros. and Polygram Filmed Entertainment are in advanced discussions to jointly finance Castle Rock Entertainment’s production and marketing costs for as many as five features through a split-rights deal, sources close to the talks confirmed Sunday.

Castle Rock president Martin Shafer declined to comment about published reports that a deal was imminent. Warner and Polygram reps could not be reached for comment.

But sources confirmed it looked likely Polygram would partake in the next two Castle Rock releases, Whit Stillman’s long-awaited “Last Days of Disco” and Hugh Grant starrer “Mickey Blue Eyes.”

It was unclear whether the companies would divide foreign and domestic rights or if they would co-finance Castle Rock and share in the box office. Polygram needs product to send through its recently launched distribution arm, but it’s not clear how many Castle Rock pics will go out under the Polygram label. One insider said those details have yet to be worked out.

“The Last Days of Disco” is due out in May and Warner Bros. is slated to release it.

Castle Rock is in the final legs of a long-term deal with Columbia Pictures for distribution. That pact closes with the Billy Crystal comic starrer “My Giant,” which opens March 27.


Castle Rock has thinned its ranks in the past eight months after three difficult years with problematic performances from such pics as “The American President” and “City Hall.”

When Time Warner absorbed Turner Broadcasting System last year, Castle Rock became a division of Warner Bros. At the time, the company had a staff of 120 and released between eight and 12 pics per year.

Warner Bros. had mixed feelings about keeping the small company that had once produced such hits as “When Harry Met Sally …,” “City Slickers,” “In the Line of Fire” and “Misery.” WB tried at the beginning of the year to sell Castle Rock, but couldn’t find a reasonable deal.

New direction

So Warners fully shifted the company into its own film division with the mandate to produce five pics per year. Still, Warners encouraged any interest from co-financiers, much as it did with Arnon Milchan’s New Regency Prods., a company that co-financed its pics through foreign sales.

Polygram, which once rejected a purchase of Castle Rock’s film division because of the Columbia deal, showed renewed interest recently, anticipating the conclusion of the Col pact.

Sources said Castle Rock’s TV division, which has long helped the company, largely due to the hit show “Seinfeld,” will have nothing to do with the Polygram/Warner Bros. arrangement.

More Film

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content