×
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.

Downsizing

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

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer

    Film News Roundup: 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Trailer Sets Sony Pictures Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sets a studio record, Chris Meledandri and Glenn Close are honored, an art-house streaming service is unveiled, and “Cliffs of Freedom” gets a release. TRAILER STATS The first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer has set a record as the biggest digital launch in Sony Pictures history [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo to Star in the Thriller 'Hell on the Border'

    Frank Grillo is set to star in the action-thriller “Hell on the Border” with Wes Miller directing. Miller also penned the script with Curtis Nichouls, Henry Penzi, and Sasha Yelaun producing. Ron Perlman is also on board to co-star. Plot details are unknown at this time. Production is currently underway in Birmingham, Ala. Grillo has [...]

  • Lee Unkrich Variety Oscars Nominees Lunch

    'Toy Story 3,' 'Coco' Director Lee Unkrich to Exit Pixar After 25 Years

    Lee Unkrich, who won Academy Awards for “Toy Story 3” and “Coco,” is departing Pixar Animation Studios after 25 years to spend more time with his family. Unkrich joined Pixar in 1994 after working as an assistant editor in television on “Silk Stalkings” and “Renegade.” He served as editor on Pixar’s first feature, 1995’s “Toy [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed

    Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Production Start Pushed Back Several Months

    Warner Bros. is pushing back the production start date of its third “Fantastic Beasts” movie several months from July to the late fall, a spokesperson said Friday. Actors have been notified about the change in dates. The untitled third “Fantastic Beasts” movie has not yet set a release date. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content