Mutual team to part ways

Gordon, Levinsohn to 'explore other options'

After a five-year run that included “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Patriot,” Mutual Film Co. partners Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn have come to a parting of the ways which they are characterizing as mutual and amicable.

Gordon and Levinsohn have notified their international partners and Paramount Pictures of their intention to split. Mutual’s Paramount deal, originally a two-year pact that was extended by another two years, runs through June 2001, and the partners intend to continue developing films and to keep a staff in place until that pact expires. Neither partner has formalized his next move, but Paramount exec VP Don Granger is in talks with Levinsohn to create a production and financing entity that they would both head. Granger did not return calls Wednesday.

Gordon and Levinsohn got together because each had a talent the other needed. Gordon had been a producer with a talent for developing material, producing films like “Speed” and “Broken Arrow” under studio deals. Levinsohn came from a financing background and contacts in the international banking community. He raised coin for films like “12 Monkeys.” Gordon sought a partner who could raise money so he wouldn’t be reliant on studio coin, while Levinsohn wanted a greater hand in the creative side of producing. Mutual got its original financing chiefly from the BBC, Toho-Towa and Telemunchen, with a more recent capital infusion of $200 million coming late last year. The Mutual track record includes producing films like “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Patriot,” both of which were scripted by Robert Rodat. But Mutual wasn’t the financier of either of those films. Pics Mutual did co-finance included “The Jackal,” “Wonder Boys” and “A Simple Plan.”

The duo confirmed their split, issuing a joint statement: “We are proud of what we have accomplished by building this company over the last five years. However, we both feel a strong desire to explore other options at this point in our careers.”

The parting came as a surprise to John Goldwyn, president of the Paramount Motion Picture Group. “Mark Gordon has had a long relationship with this studio, going back to when he was going to make ‘Speed’ here before we didn’t go forward with it,” he said. “Gary is newer to us, but we have benefited from our relation-ship with Mutual, availed ourselves of its financial resources for a very productive relationship that continues with ‘Tomb Raider,’ a film they are financing in a very substantial way. I haven’t talked with them about their reasons, but they’ve told me they are splitting up. I wish them both a lot of luck and hope to work with both of them again.”