Douglas/Reuther plans U-Par pact

Michael Douglas and Steve Reuther, whose company produced Paramount Pictures’ “The Ghost and the Darkness” and the studio’s summer offering “Face/Off,” starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, are negotiating a joint agreement with Paramount and Universal Pictures to split their company’s deal between both studios, sources said.

The deal would enable the studios to share the financial risk, and is currently being worked out. Paramount has been the most aggressive studio in town in setting up creative financing arrangements, and has entered into a number of co-financing and split-rights deals. Universal has recently announced that it, too, is looking for alternative ways to finance its projects, and has inked several deals that provide outside financing.

The Paramount-Douglas/Reuther deal was the first of its kind for Par when the studio entered into it in 1994. Under terms of the deal, the studio would distribute 12 films that the production company arranged the financing on or helped to finance over four years. Douglas would act in three of the films. The production company has fulfilled four film commitments so far.

German film financier Bodo Scriba gave his support to the Douglas/Reuther venture with a 30% stake in exchange for rights in Germany and Eastern Europe. That has since changed. In February of this year it was reported in the German press that Scriba was selling his share, and German media mogul Leo Kirch was expected to take over.

To help Douglas/Reuther get started, Par initially offered the partners a number of projects that the company could buy into. It chose the Sydney Pollack-directed Harrison Ford starrer “Sabrina.”

The Douglas/Reuther-Par deal has also generated “The Ghost and the Darkness,” which starred Douglas, “Face/Off” (due out June 27) and John Grisham’s “The Rainmaker,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which is in post-production.

None of the parties involved would comment.

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