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‘Elf’ esteem at Paramount

Shingle's duo agree to 3-year pact, add'l year option

A correction was made to this article on Dec. 18, 2003.

Paramount Pictures has signed “Elf” producers Todd Komarnicki and Jon Berg to a first-look production deal through their Guy Walks Into a Bar shingle.

The duo, who developed “Elf” as the maiden project for their company, have agreed to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year. They cited strong response from studio brass, including topper Sherry Lansing and prexy Tom Jacobson.

“The enthusiasm and commitment of Sherry, Tom and the entire Paramount team to make the kind of movies we love to make at the Bar makes Paramount the perfect fit,” said Komarnicki and Berg.

New Line’s “Elf” has been a surprise fall hit, generating domestic grosses topping $148 million in six weeks. The shingle recently secured film rights to “Compton Cricket Story,” with Berg, Komarnicki, David Klawans, homeless activist Ted Hayes and team manager Katy Haber producing.

“Jon and Todd are extraordinarily gifted filmmakers with and incredibly warmhearted comic sensibility,” Lansing said. “We all look forward to working with them here at Paramount.”

Komarnicki and Berg are developing “The Retreat” at New Line; David Dorfman (“Anger Management”) is scripting. Other feature projects include “Fat Chance,” with Gone Fishin’ Prods.; “Number One Girl,” written by Molly McAlpine with Mark Johnson Prods.; “Dillinger,” with Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney co-producing; and “Vikings,” for Fox, with Komarnicki scripting and Luc Besson’s Europa and Guy Walks Into a Bar producing.

Komarnicki also directed his adaptation of “Resistance,” starring Bill Paxton and Julia Ormond. He’s been hired by Warner Bros. to write and exec produce “The Flash” through Warner Bros. TV and Guy Walks Into a Bar.

Prior to forming Guy Walks Into a Bar with Komarnicki in 2001, Berg worked as a development exec at Universal for two years and operated a management-production company with Damien Saccani.

Guy Walks Into a Bar execs include Matthew Weinberg and J. Cobe. Shingle is repped by CAA and Karl Austin at Armstrong Hirsch Jackoway Tyerman & Wertheimer.

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