You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Donners shoot for Winchester

Prod'n co. pulls trigger on 3-year deal

The Donners Co., the partnership between director Richard Donner and his wife producer Lauren Shuler Donner, has made a three-year overall deal with Winchester Films to develop and produce a slate of films.

Richard Donner, who has directed films almost exclusively for Warner Bros. over the past 15 years with a cumulative gross of $2 billion-plus, is expected to direct a couple for Winchester.

Winchester Films prexy Hadeel Reda said the Donners’ deal will include overhead and development funding for Shuler Donner to begin aggressively acquiring books and scripts.

The Donner deal follows an overall Winchester pact made with Wind Dancer Films, which, with Icon, produced the hit comedy “What Women Want.”

The common thread, Reda said, is that both companies have displayed an ability to generate films with big commercial potential.

Winchester will handle international sales on all films generating from the Donner partnership, with Winchester acting as the output partner for the U.K. The two companies will work together to set up domestic distribution with studios on a per-film basis.

The U.K.-based Winchester scored its first hit with “Heartbreakers,” the MGM comedy on which it bought international rights while the film was in pre-production.

“The Donners have a great track record, and Lauren has shown a great taste for things commercial and offbeat, but always timely,” Reda said. “We are excited by the things she will option and develop, and we will be happy with one great film a year, and hoping for maybe two movies that Dick might direct.”

Shuler Donner has named Michael Aguilar prexy of production of the Donners Co., with Jeremy Kleiner named director of development. She said the Winchester deal is their first overall arrangement since the Donners’ long run at Warners, and gives them ample financing and the ability to work with various Hollywood majors.

“There are a bunch of books we’ll option to start things and it is a strong desire on our part and theirs to have Dick direct several movies for them,” said Shuler Donner. “We are very loyal.”

Shuler Donner has a producing track record that includes such films as “You’ve Got Mail,” “Any Given Sunday” and “X-Men.” The Donners are developing an adaptation of Michael Crichton’s time-travel bestseller “Timeline,” which Donner will direct. With a locked script by Jeff Maguire and George Nolfi, the film’s ready for a March start. While a U.K. location is likely, the need for horses in scenes and the hoof-and-mouth disease scare in Europe could create logistical complexities.

Shuler Donner also is prepping the Bryan Singer-directed “X-Men” sequel, being scripted by Zak Penn and David Hayter for a February start. “X-Men 2” is eyeing a Christmas 2002 bow.

Shuler Donner’s developing at Warners and Bel-Air Entertainment the Peter Howitt-directed “Vacation From Marriage,” as well as the Warners actioner “Constantine,” based on the DC Comics character Hellblazer, which Tarsem (“The Cell”) is directing.

Separately, Winchester Films has acquired U.K. indie distrib Feature Film Co.

As part of the deal, Feature Film marketing exec Laurence Gornall and sales exec David Shear will join the newly retitled Winchester Film Distribution under its chief Mick Southworth.

Feature Film chairman David Holloway, who sold the company to Winchester, will no longer be involved.

More Film

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays

    Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

    India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry. The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • 'The Cordillera of Dreams' Review: Poetic

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Cordillera of Dreams'

    Rounding out his sublimely meditative, deeply personal documentary-essay trilogy on time, memory and the relationship of Chile’s breathtaking landscapes to its troubled human history, Patricio Guzmán delivers “The Cordillera of Dreams,” a haunting and allusive exploration of the cultural impact of the country’s most spectacular geological feature: its snowcapped mountain spine. Coming after the exploration [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo' Review: Abdellatif

    Cannes Film Review: 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo'

    A simple but somehow atypical shot opens Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film: a serene closeup of a young woman’s face, as seen through the camera lens of Amir, a budding photographer still finding his perspective. Her expression is ambiguously tranquil, her long hair lightly rustled by a humid breeze, all softly lit by a sinking afternoon [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content