You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mandalay set to stock Sony pipeline

A Sharon Stone remake of “Gloria,” the 1980 John Cassavetes pic that grabbed an Oscar nom for Gena Rowlands, is being unveiled by Mandalay Pictures to foreign buyers for distribution at the American Film Market, which opens today in Santa Monica. A full slate of upcoming releases marks a turning point for the Sony-based production, financing and distribution company headed by Peter Guber.

“Nine Mandalay pictures will hit the screens in the next 15 months,” Mandalay prexy Adam Platnick told Daily Variety, emphasizing an aggressive push to fill Sony’s domestic distribution pipeline. The $15 million “I Know What You Did … ,” a teen suspenser starring Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Ryan Filippi and Freddie Prinze Jr. and written by “Scream” scribe Kevin Williamson, is also at the market and is pegged for an Oct. 24 release.

Sony worldwide marketing chief Bob Levin said, “Both Adam and (Mandalay marketing head) John Jacobs are great partners. It’s a very positive, collaborative and intense relationship. Mandalay is a very important contributor to Sony’s slate of films.”

For the short term, Mandalay is apparently responsible for a big portion of Sony’s major inhouse releases.

But also taking a global view that includes long-term distrib partnerships in six major territories as well as indie foreign distribs elsewhere, Platnick stated, “We are the pre-eminent supplier of A-plus-level product to the overseas market.”

The company’s outlook and production schedule was quite a bit more tentative at the time of the last AFM, however.

At this time last year, “Seven Years in Tibet” was in limbo, awaiting word from Brad Pitt as to whether he would star in the Jean Jacques Annaud epic, and the Barbet Schroeder-helmed “Desperate Measures” had not yet emerged from development. Ridley Scott’s “The Fan” was in post-production, and lensing was just beginning on “Donnie Brasco,” the Al Pacino/Johnny Depp Mafia drama.

The Scott picture struck out, but “Measures,” a thriller toplining Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia, has an Aug. 8 opening. “Tibet,” with Pitt, finally, and a score by John Williams, is set for Oct. 10, while “Brasco” bows this Friday to generally positive advance reviews.

The moment is pivotal for Mandalay, which has hit some rough spots in its first two years, including a highly publicized blowup last year over “The Double,” which would have toplined John Travolta if not for a falling out between the star and director Roman Polanski.

Mandalay’s relationship with Sony has also been tested. The company was initially set up with an equity investment from Sony Corp. of America after Guber’s exit in September 1994 from his post as chief executive officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

But the deal was turned over to SPE when an internal corporate shift gave Sony topper Nobuyuki Idea more say over the studio. Following the exit of Sony president Michael Schulhof, the terms of Mandalay’s deal underwent some changes. The agreement now puts Sony co-financing behind five to six Mandalay pics per year with the right to negotiate on a pic-by-pic basis on rights in territories outside Mandalay’s output arrangements.

With those questions out of the way (including a possible settlement of differences with Travolta, sources say), a new management team in place at Sony, partnerships in place overseas and a deal soon to close with London-based Coutts & Co. for as much as $100 million in financing, Mandalay is in an optimal position, according to Platnick.

“We have a fantastic working relationship with Bob Levin and (SPE distribution head) Jeff Blake on the domestic side,” he said, while also crediting Summit Entertainment for its ongoing role in foreign sales and servicing of output deals. Those include Entertainment Film Distributors in the U.K., Neue Constantin in Germany, Cecchi Gori in Italy, SKC in Korea, Village Roadshow in Australia and TriPictures in Spain.

Mandalay is in ongoing talks with several distribs in France, including TF1, Bac Film and AMLF, to open a Gallic pipeline. Japan remains wide open with films being handled by local distribs, including Nippon Herald, Toha Towa and JVC.

Mandalay pics hitting screens this year include “Double Team,” a Tsui Hark actioner with Jean-Claude Van Damme and tattooed hoopster Dennis Rodman (April 4); “Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables,” the classic tale directed by Bille August and starring Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, Geoffrey Rush and Claire Danes (Christmas ’97); “Shut Up And Dance,” a Randa Haines pop hoofer starring Vanessa Williams a la “Dirty Dancing,” (mid-Feb. ’98) ; and “Wild Things,” an erotic thriller from John McNaughton starring Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey Jr. and Neve Campbell, skedded for spring break ’98 .

“Gloria,” in which Stone plays a streetwise Bronx woman who protects a young boy from the mob, is to be helmed by Scott Kalvert (“Basketball Diaries”) and shot on location in New York this summer for a summer ’98 release. Also greenlit, but as yet without a director, is “The Deep End of the Ocean,” based on the novel by Jacquelyn Mitchard, which has Michelle Pfieffer attached as a producer and star.

Other pics on the boards being shepherded by production head Todd Black are “The Intruder,” a thriller with helmer Philip Kaufman attached; “The Killing Game,” with director Marc Rocco on board; “Mr. Hawaii,” to be helmed by Steve Chase; “Freeze,” a big-budget pic set in the Antarctic to be produced by Gale Anne Hurd; and a feature based on the Flash Gordon comic strips.

More Scene

  • Atmosphere91st Annual Academy Awards, Governors Ball

    Inside the 2019 Oscar Parties

    Stars party all around Hollywood before, during, and after the Oscars. Here, Variety hits the town to give you the inside scoop on all the star-studded soirées. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for the latest updates… Variety x Armani Beauty Makeup Artistry Dinner Sunset Tower, Los Angeles, Feb. 20 Variety and Giorgio Armani Beauty honored makeup artists [...]

  • Speaker of the United States House

    Nancy Pelosi, Ava DuVernay Honored at VH1 Trailblazers Event

    Cher is feeling a little better about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. “When I see Trump spew his hate and tell his gazillion lies, I get pissed off and feel uneasy at the same time,” the Oscar winner and frequent Trump critic said Wednesday while introducing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at VH1 Trailblazers [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. Co-hosted by Yalitza Aparicio, Henry Golding and Amandla Stenberg [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscars Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content