Col accepts invitation to ‘Party’ with Mottola

Film co. to finance, distribute ensemble comedy

Columbia Pictures has agreed to finance and distribute the ensemble comedy “Life of the Party” from writer-director Greg Mottola.

Pic, which Mottola collaborator Nancy Tenenbaum will produce, is about a group of friends who travel to the South of France to rejoin an old pal of theirs who is in need of their company.

Michael Costigan, Columbia Pictures’ senior veepee of production and a fan of Mottola’s first pic, the low-budget comedy “The Daytrippers,” spotted the script for the studio. He took it to Colpix prexy Amy Pascal, who immediately became attracted to the project.

There is no cast yet on “Party,” but Costigan said that he planned to get the pic into production by the fall, following a script polish by Mottola.

The budget of “Party” will depend on casting, said Costigan, although he conceded that it is likely to be “a lot more” than “Daytrippers,” which Mottola and Tenenbaum made for less than $1 million.

“This is a really funny, character-driven comedy that sensibility-wise is similar to ‘Daytrippers,’ but which represents the next up (in filmmaking terms) for Greg,” Costigan said.

The financial terms of Mottola and Tenenbaum’s deal at Col were not available.

Alliance Independent Films’ “The Daytrippers,” which starred Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Parker Posey and Liev Schreiber, was produced by Tenenbaum and Steven Soderbergh. Lions Gate Films, formerly known as Cinepix Film Properties, distributed it in the U.S.

“Daytrippers” won Mottola the Grand Prix at the 1996 Deauville Festival of American Cinema. He also wrote the original screenplay “Earthly Delights,” which remains unproduced. He is repped by William Morris Agency.