You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Butan new bigwig at 2929 Prods.

Exec to aid in developing projects in $10 mil-$30 mil range

Former Lions Gate executive vice president Marc Butan has been appointed head of 2929 Prods., the film-producing and -financing venture founded last year by partners Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban.

That duo is getting aggressive in the film production game after making several key strategic acquisitions last year through their parent company, 2929 Entertainment.

Wagner and Cuban last year acquired the Landmark Theater arthouse chain, launched HDNet Films to make low-budget films and acquired Magnolia Pictures Distribution.

They got started in films by co-financing and co-producing with Section Eight “The Criminal” and “The Jacket,” both to be distributed by Warner Independent, and “Godsend,” starring Robert De Niro and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. Latter film will be released by Lions Gate in April.

It was the working experience on “Godsend” that led 2929 Entertainment CEO Wagner to offer Butan the job. Butan, who’d spent three years at Lions Gate, left six weeks ago to take the 2929 post.

Butan and Wagner will develop projects in the $10 million-$30 million range, and Wagner said 2929 will partner on each film with a studio. They’ll split costs and pay a distribution fee to ensure a studio has incentive to market the films. Wagner will also provide equity financing for projects 2929 did not generate, when it makes sense to do so.

“We have deliberately taken our time, looking to be opportunistic,” Wagner said. “We won’t look to make a deal with one studio, because we want to work with several different ones and see which does the best job.”

Wagner and Cuban come to film after making their fortunes co-founding Broadcast.com and cashing out with a sale to Yahoo! in 1999.

While Cuban has subsequently developed a higher profile because he became the vocal owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Wagner’s entry into showbiz has been comparatively low-key, laying the groundwork for a diversified entertainment company.

Company also owns Rysher Entertainment, which brought 2929 a library of titles and syndication rights to TV shows like “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Sex and the City” and “Star Search,” including a new version of the latter show that currently airs on CBS. Company also owns HDNet, the hi-def TV network co-founded by Cuban.

Wagner feels it’s time to make movies. “I went into this business thinking this is what I will want to do for the next 10 years,” Wagner said. “I was in no hurry to plop down money to make big movies, because that is a mistake many have made and paid for.”

Wagner has set up headquarters in Santa Monica and hopes within the next three years to be making three to seven low-budget pics through HDNet Films, making up to three self-generated features with studio partners and staking three to five other films a year.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content