Buddies stay after ‘School’

Ferrell, Wilson, Vaughn likely to return for next installment

This article was corrected on May 28, 2003.

DreamWorks has reupped its first-look production pact with Tom Pollock and Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Picture Co. for an additional three years, as the two companies move ahead with plans for a sequel to this year’s hit laffer “Old School.”

Studio originally brokered a first-look arrangement with Montecito in May 2000, a relationship that’s resulted in the comedies “Evolution,” “Road Trip” and “Old School.” Company had a two-picture deal with DreamWorks before that.

Renewal will continue to cover Montecito’s overhead and ongoing costs to develop pics. Dan Goldberg, Joe Medjuck and Jacqueline Josephson serve as producers at the company, whose name is based on the Santa Barbara suburb where Pollock and Reitman keep their offices.

College laffer coming

Company is currently producing an untitled college-age comedy, formerly known as “The Ugly Americans,” written by the comedy trio of Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer. Berg is directing. DreamWorks will release that pic sometime next year.

Montecito and DreamWorks are seeking a second project for Reitman (behind the “Ghostbusters” pics, “Dave” and “Stripes,” among others) to direct at the studio, since helming the 2001 sci-fi laffer “Evolution.”

Over the years, Montecito has become a go-to source for low-budget but high-concept comedies that attract auds and deliver mostly profitable results at the B.O.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with them,” DreamWorks production head Michael DeLuca told Daily Variety. “They’re great at finding new talent and understand high concept comedies that appeal to audiences.”

‘School’ got an A

For example, “Old School,” which bowed in February, generated $75 million domestically. Pic, produced for $24 million, starred Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn.

“Road Trip,” produced for $16 million, earned $68 million. The $80 million “Evolution” proved the only stumble to date, reaping $38 million.

The “Old School” sequel is still early in development. Trio of Ferrell, Wilson and Vaughn are likely to return.

First installment, an “Animal House”-like romp about three men who try to relive their college days by starting a fraternity, was produced by and written by Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong. Phillips directed that pic, as well as “Road Trip,” on which he made his feature directing debut at a studio.

Company has several other pics in development. Among them is Sheldon Turner’s adaptation of the Walter Kirn novel “Up in the Air,” which it acquired in April.

DreamWorks co-heads Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg have had a long relationship with Pollock and Reitman.

Pollock, a longtime showbiz attorney and exec who headed Universal Pictures for a decade, was at U when Spielberg directed “Schindler’s List” and “Jurassic Park” for the studio, and was Katzenberg’s lawyer more than 25 years ago. And Katzenberg, as a Paramount exec, acquired Reitman’s independently produced “Meatballs.”

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