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Hyde parks on Fox’s lot

Amritraj inks first-look deal with studio

Positioning itself as a studio within a studio, Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment has signed a five-year, first-look production and distribution deal with 20th Century Fox.

Wide-ranging arrangement includes co-financing, production and distribution as well as a number of put pictures. Fox will handle domestic distribution on all films falling under the deal; Hyde Park will handle international.

Pact also anticipates Hyde Park fully financing movies with budgets under $30 million and co-financing those budgeted above that level. Company retains an existing second-look deal with Disney that runs for three more years.

Hyde Park is expected to produce 15-20 titles for the studio over the next five years, akin to Arnon Milchan’s Regency. Amritraj’s company will cover its own development, except on projects on which Fox (or other studio partners) prefers to partner.

Hyde Park has some 25-30 projects in development that are intended to make the deal a turnkey operation for studio film product.

Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman Tom Rothman called Amritraj “one of the most prolific producers in the business” to whom Fox would look to provide “a diverse slate of pictures.”

Co-chairman Jim Gianopulos added that Amritraj possesses “a deep understanding of material, talent and the marketplace” and would be “an important asset to the studio.”

Hyde Park was founded seven years ago by Amritraj. Company prexy Jon Jashni will continue to oversee its production and development. Jashni has just inked a multiyear contract extension and reports directly to CEO Amritraj.

Hyde Park continues to maintain producer deals with Matthew Baer and Patrick Aiello.

At this past Cannes Film Market, Hyde Park launched an international sales and acquisitions subsidiary, Hyde Park Intl. Overseen by Lisa Wilson, it services Hyde Park projects as well as select third-party titles that the division will acquire.

Financing from Natexis

Natexis Banques Populaires, through group manager Bennett Pozil, will continue its long-term association with Hyde Park and provide financing for the company’s titles.

Natexis is working with the company on the upcoming Disney release “Shopgirl,” with Steve Martin and Claire Danes, and the upcoming DreamWorks release “Dreamer,” starring Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell. Both will premiere during the opening weekend of the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Hyde Park has multiple international territorial output deals, including those with Entertainment in the U.K. and with Epsilon in Germany. Company’s ongoing relationship with U.K. funds manager the Brass Hat Group allows it access to equity production funds that augment its primary financing.

Flexibility key

“Flexibility is key in today’s marketplace,” said Amritraj. “Our goal is to have our menu of production and financing options position Hyde Park in the community as an obvious home for talent.”

Hyde Park is in pre-production on pics including “Premonition,” “Monkeyface” and “Wallflower,” all of which will start principal photography by early next year.

Recent Hyde Park credits include “Bringing Down the House,” “Raising Helen” and “Moonlight Mile” at Disney and “Walking Tall” and “Bandits” at MGM.

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