Beverly Hills-based production company Legend Entertainment and Munich-based ACC Entertainment have merged to form New Legend Media.
The producer-distributor will be launched with two productions budgeted under $20 million, one a thriller starring Andy Garcia and the other a suspense drama toplined by Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic”).
New Legend Media is the Munich-based parent of Beverly Hills-based New Legend Media Inc., the wholly owned U.S. subsid that will serve as the outfit’s production arm. NLMI plans to produce four films a year, with international sales handled by Peter Elson’s Global Cinema Group.
Over the next three years, NLM plans to co-produce three or four titles and acquire another five or six films annually for its distribution partners in Italy, Germany and Spain. In exchange, they will contribute up to 25% of the films’ budgets.
NLM’s first co-production will be the upcoming Paramount Classics release “My First Mister,” starring Albert Brooks and Leelee Sobieski and directed by actress/Oscar-winning filmmaker Christine Lahti. Pic’s backed with L.A.-based production/finance company Total Film Group.
NLM has also landed its first acquisition with “Say Nothing,” the upcoming thriller directed by Arthur Hiller and produced by Rastar.
“Ties That Bind” will star Garcia as a psychologist who matches wits with a teenage patient to unravel the boy’s gruesome past. Directed by Geoffrey Wright, who helmed the upcoming “Cherry Falls,” the film was written by Chris Murphey and Miguel Tejada-Flores (“Revenge of the Nerds”). Principal photography is skedded to begin in June on locations in western Canada.
“Who You Know” stars Del Toro as a writer who investigates the murder of a girl he met at a party. He finds that the evidence points to an unlikely suspect: himself. Written by Henry Bean (“Internal Affairs”), pic will be directed by Chris Menaul (“The Passion of Ayn Rand”). Principal photography begins in Los Angeles in August.
NLMI has also signed a first-look deal with production execs-turned-producing partners J. Paul Higgins and Kathryn Sommer Parry, who have been collectively involved with such projects as “Double Jeopardy,” “Basic Instinct,” “Total Recall,” “Terminator 2,” “12 Monkeys,” “Legaleze” and “Cliffhanger.”
Serving as co-CEOs for NLMI are former Legend Entertainment president Tom Berry and former ACC Entertainment co-chairman Al Munteanu. They also comprise the management board of NLM along with former ACC Entertainment co-chairman Peter Popp.
Berry will head up development and production activities as president of NLMI. Former Image Organization president Lawrence Goebel serves as executive VP production. Alex Campbell is senior VP production.
Munteanu is based in Munich and oversees acquisitions and European distribution. Popp, also based in Munich, is head of operations for the parent company.
In addition to Berry, Munteanu and Popp, NLM shareholders include Motion Intl., Canada’s second-largest television production and distribution company, as well as several venture capital companies, including Hamburg-based GBK and Munich-based CEA.