Gold/Miller joins hands with Atlas

Three arms looking for studio deals

NEW YORK — In a move that strengthens two formidable management/production entities, the Gold/Miller Co. has merged with Atlas Entertainment. Together, they boast strong clientele in film, TV and music, and will have a film/television production arm and a record company with a top roster of acts.

All parties expect to make a studio deal for each component — not necessarily in the same place. The rumor has Universal as the frontrunner to land the film deal.

The merger is not entirely a surprise, as the principals have been headed for the altar for at least six months, after an on-off courtship of several years.

The partners in the new entity will be Gold/Miller’s Eric L. Gold and Jimmy Miller; Atlas’s Chuck Roven; and Scott Welch and Pat Magnarella, the latter of whom run Atlas’s music arm Third Rail. Allen Shapiro, who helped shape the deal, becomes the final partner and serves as president.

Principals on both sides denied they are linking to keep pace with their continually amalgamating competitors, a growth spurt most recently evidenced by AMG’s absorption of the literary agency Renaissance. Rather, said both parties, their pieces fit together so well it seemed foolish not to join forces.

According to Atlas’s Roven, “The great thing about this combination is it essentially allows all of us to expand in areas we weren’t in before.”

Longtime partners Gold and Miller were content to remain independent, but saw the potential to grow in a new direction with partners they felt they could get along with.

“This merger is as much a personal decision as a business decision,” said Miller. “Putting two noncompeting companies together with the same philosophies, that bodes well.”

Gold/Miller brings to the table a stable of stars and TV and feature writers and directors.

The biggest is Jim Carrey, and the roster includes actors like Kevin Sorbo, Jon Stewart, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn and Damon Wayans, Mary McCormack, Natascha McElhone, Jason Scott Lee and Matthew Lillard; writer/directors like Jay Roach, Judd Apatow, Leon Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick, Gregory Nava, Dan Rosen and Drake Sather; and “Saturday Night Live” performers and writers like Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Steve Higgins, Colin Quinn and Adam McKay.

Gold/Miller’s TV producing credits include “In Living Color.”

Atlas had made inroads into TV and movie management, led by former CAA agent Todd Smith, who with Richard Suckle will continue to rep their list of writers and directors like Bruce Feirstein, Randa Haines, Danny Leiner, James Huth, Nat Maudlin, Patrick Massett & John Zinman, and Gloria Katz & Willard Huyck.

They will join the existing manager roster of Gold/Miller.

A more potent Atlas asset is a film production arm, headed by Roven, with credits that include “12 Monkeys,” “City of Angels” and the upcoming “Three Kings,” with an inventory of as many as 40 projects in development at Warner Bros.

Though that WB term deal has expired, several of those films are nearing productions starts, Roven said. They include the Adam Rifkin-scripted fantasy “Young and Undead,” which will be directed by Nancy Bardiwell, who helmed the “Iris” video for the Goo Goo Dolls.

That group is one of several hot bands managed by Third Rail Management, the Atlas component that makes the merged company different from most of its competitors. The management company roster of hitmakers includes Alanis Morissette, the Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, Savage Garden, Luscious Jackson, Weezer and Jude.

Atlas also boasts Third Rail Records, a joint venture label with Buena Vista Music Group. Third Rail is run by Welch and Magnarella, along with Rebecca Mostow.

The newlywed partners are trying to decide whether to coin an overall name for their company, whether to consolidate office space, and which studios to link with. But, for the most part, the principals stress that the parties will continue doing business in fairly autonomous fashion, and synergizing when it’s applicable.

“The structure is fairly complicated, but there are six partners who all share in the proceeds from what happens here on out,” said Roven.

“The name of the parent company isn’t important, because whatever it might be, Gold/Miller is the division that handles theatrical and TV management, Third Rail Management and Third Rail Records handle the music, and Atlas is the producing arm. Those are the names we really care about.”