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Alcon skips to WB

Exclusive 5-year distrib deal covers at least 10 pics

Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment have pacted an exclusive five-year distribution deal that will cover a minimum of 10 pictures produced and financed by Alcon.

In addition, Warner Bros. and Alcon are actively seeking potential projects for co-production under the agreement.

The budget range for Alcon’s titles will fall between $12 million and $50 million, with an average cost of $25 million to $30 million.

The first project under the deal will be “Affair of the Necklace,” which will be directed by Charles Shyer and is slated to star Oscar-nominated actress Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry”).

Alcon, which was launched in 1997 by Fedex Corp. founder Frederick W. Smith, is headed by co-presidents Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove. The company has produced two titles to date: “My Dog Skip,” which was the No. 1 family title at last week’s box office, and “Lost and Found,” last year’s romantic comedy starring David Spade and Sophie Marceau.

“On certain films that we’re very passionate about, we’ll do smaller budgets,” said Johnson. “We can also go over in certain cases, which is where we would partner with Warner Bros. on co-productions.”

Alcon plans to produce two to four titles annually, with Warners covering P&A in exchange for a distribution fee. Warners will handle most titles on a worldwide basis with certain exceptions; “Affair,” for example, will be handled overseas by Summit Entertainment.

“We run a very tight shop(CQ),” Kosove said. “You can never stamp these things out. We want to make as many films as good scripts justify.”

Said Warner Bros. president and chief operating officer Alan Horn: “We are thrilled to have Alcon Entertainment as a part of our release slate for the next several years and even more excited about forging a long-term relationship with these very talented young filmmakers. In the few short years that they have been in business, Andrew and Broderick have proven themselves to be exceptional producers as well as astute businessmen.”

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