Tripod shows actioner legs

Zanuck, Ruddy/Morgan slate pix

CANNES — Former Largo Entertainment chairman Barr Potter has launched a new L.A.-based film company, Tripod Entertainment, with plans to finance and sell four to six big-budget pics a year.

Potter has arranged informal producer agreements with Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck’s Zanuck Co. and Albert Ruddy and Andre Morgan’s Ruddy/Morgan Organization. Tripod will also produce pics itself.

As part of its plans to build a library, Tripod will jointly own any pics it finances together with the producing entities. And, in time, its producer relationships may become formalized or even exclusive.

Action slate

Tripod’s initial slate consists of four $40 million to $50 million action pics — one from Zanuck, two from Ruddy/Morgan and one from Tripod. The titles are:

  • “Reign of Fire,” a futuristic sci-fi action pic, written by Matt Greenberg (“Halloween H20”), based on a story by Greg Chabot and Kevin Peterka, to be produced by the Zanucks;

  • “Trading Warriors,” a modern-day action pic about international political intrigue and drug smuggling. Stanley Tong (“Rumble in the Bronx”) is attached to direct; Ruddy/Morgan will produce;

  • “Firestorm,” a major action pic, scripted by Steven E. de Souza, to be produced by Ruddy/Morgan;

  • “Jet Black,” a contemporary actioner about corporate espionage, scripted by John Morgan and Jack Olsen. Dwight Little (“Murder at 1600”) is attached to direct, and Tripod will produce.

“I’m looking at genres that are most in demand in the foreign marketplace,” Potter said.

Climate is ideal

“As the studios look for more outside financing, the current climate is perfect for the launch of this company,” he continued. “Tripod offers well-established studio producers the opportunity to get their projects made without the studio.”

None of the pics have domestic distribution yet. Potter said he aimed to put output deals in place with key foreign buyers at Cannes. “Starting with the major European territories, I’m going to try and tie up as many territories as makes sense,” he said. In the longer term, Tripod will handle its own international sales and licensing.

The initial set of pics will be financed through pre-sales and a limited gap. Once the foreign deals have been set up, Potter wants to establish a domestic output deal with a studio. Potter says that at least one pic will start shooting in the next 12 months, although none have been cast.

Credit hunt

Once the company is up and running, Potter may seek a credit line to augment his foreign financing. For the time being, the foreign deals will be structured in a way that enables the producers to engage in a limited amount of development.

Potter got to know the Zanucks during Lee Tamahori’s “Mulholland Falls,” which the Zanucks produced and Largo distributed internationally.

The Zanucks last produced “True Crime” for Warner Bros. Albert Ruddy produced “The Godfather” and “The Cannonball Run,” among other pics. He and Andre Morgan produced “Heaven’s Prisoners.”

While running Largo, Potter was involved in the financing and distribution of “G.I. Jane” and “John Carpenter’s Vampires.”