The Playboy bunny is hopping into feature films.
Playboy Enterprises subsid Alta Loma Entertainment and Larry Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment have inked a deal to produce pics in the $25 million budget range for theatrical release.
Leveraging Playboy’s brand name, the companies plan to make “broad romantic comedies” in the vein of “American Pie” and “The Sure Thing,” according to Kasanoff, former prexy of Lightstorm Entertainment, which he co-founded James Cameron.
“We want to make movies that are funny and sexy and center around the unique lifestyle that Playboy has created,” Kasanoff told Daily Variety. “The point is to take the brand, which is both entertaining and intriguing, and explore it in ways that have never been done before.”
Two films in development are tentatively titled “A Night at the Playboy Mansion” and “Playmate of the Year.” Kasanoff said that the pics will have a PG-13 or R rating.
The companies plan to secure financing from independent investors or through a studio, which they will also tap for domestic distribution.
Aside from producing, the companies plan to develop ancillary projects based on the pics, including TV programs, videogames and live stage tours, similar to what Threshold has done with its “Mortal Kombat” franchise.
“Threshold has an outstanding track record of brand management and developing projects with multimedia potential and diverse distribution streams,” said Richard Rosenzweig, Alta Loma topper and Playboy Enterprises exec veep. “They really understand brand-extension opportunities.”
Deal is not Playboy’s first foray into feature film; Playboy Productions co-produced Roman Polanski’s “Macbeth” in 1971.