Horror heats Chiller Films

Canton, Relativity will head up venture

Reacting to a seemingly endless audience appetite for horror films, Mark Canton’s Atmosphere Entertainment has teamed with Relativity Media to form Chiller Films.

Canton and Relativity principal Ryan Kavanaugh will head the venture, which will finance and produce several films per year with a $20 million budget cap.

Chiller grew out of the production of the George Romero-directed zombie pic “Land of the Dead,” which recently wrapped. Universal will release it in October while Exception Wild Bunch handles overseas rights.

Relativity’s Kavanaugh and Lynwood Spinks put the financing in place for the film after Atmosphere set Romero and his partner Peter Grunwald for the pic.

“After we unearthed the horror master, we seemed to come upon an endless number of opportunities for films in the horror genre,” Canton said. “If anything, the market is expanding.”

Gore coin easy to score

Kavanaugh said the genre’s track record makes horror films among the easiest to bankroll.

“On single-picture financing, it might be easier than any other genre right now,” he said. “In one-offs, you can use hedge funds, foreign sales, all kinds of strategies to maximize your ownership position. Even if horror doesn’t stay as hot as it has been, there is still a fundamental audience and a comparably low-risk film investment.”

Canton said Chiller is negotiating remake rights on several titles and is in talks with several studios on a first-look co-financing deal.

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