New Line, Maxim drink to first-look deal

Prod'n co. to brand projects gleened from publication

New Line Cinema has made a deal that will give some of its genre films maximum penetration into the “beer, babes and gadgets”-loving male readership of Maxim magazine.

The studio has entered into a first-look deal with the mag that gives New Line first crack at articles that could spawn features. More significantly, New Line will be able to brand appropriate genre films with a “Maxim Presents” label.

Execs on both sides believed this to be the most ambitious coupling of movie and magazine since National Lampoon lent its name to films like “Animal House” and the Chevy Chase “Vacation” comedy series.

The deal was made by New Line production prexy Toby Emmerich and Stephen Colvin, who is president of Dennis Publishing U.S. and who presided over the wildly successful Stateside launch of Maxim in 1997. Mag now has 2.5 million circulation. WMA repped Maxim.

Colvin recently extended the magazine’s brand into music with “Maxim Rocks,” a compilation CD distributed by Universal.

After being approached by Emmerich and production veep Christopher Godsick, Colvin decided the studio was a good match for the mag’s audience.

Neither side would be specific about deal terms, but no money has changed hands at this point. If Maxim becomes part of a New Line film, producing fees and a backend participation formula will kick into gear.

“We liked the people running the company and the movies they make,” said Colvin, who added that the beer-and-babes stereotype doesn’t do justice to the magazine’s readership or content. “Maxim has a very strong connection to its general-interest audience and taps nicely into all kinds of emotions and genres. It could be thriller, horror, comedy, science fiction. We know that our readers are avid moviegoers, and that Maxim isn’t just a draw here, but in 16 countries from Germany to South Korea.”

Emmerich said his hope is that the alliance leads to original ideas from the mag that can be put into development, but acknowledged that two existing New Line films in early development — one a “Fatal Attraction”-type thriller — have been earmarked for possible Maxim branding.