Revolution in reload mode?

Garner heads in new direction as Roth steps up

In the first of a series of shifts at Revolution Studios as it renegotiates its partnership with Sony, partner Todd Garner is stepping down and has inked a non-exclusive, first-look producing deal at Revolution.

Revolution founder Joe Roth will assume Garner’s duties overseeing production and development at the studio.

Revolution’s equity deal at Sony expires at the end of 2006. The two companies are in negotiations to extend the deal, though the parties are far from a resolution.

Announcement follows the disappointing opening of Sony and Revolution’s “XXX: State of the Union,” which grossed $12.7 million last weekend. The original “XXX,” released in 2002, grossed $267 million worldwide.

Garner’s contract as partner, which went into effect when Revolution was formed five years ago, expires Saturday. In the midst of talks about Revolution’s future, he opted to take a producing role.

Garner has been overseeing development of Revolution’s slate. Revolution partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas has a similar position based in New York. The studio’s other partners are Roth, Rob Moore and Tom Sherak.

Although Roth will ostensibly replace Garner, he will continue to be a director and producer. Roth is in New York directing “Freedomland,” starring Julianne Moore and Samuel L. Jackson.

Revolution’s deal as an equity partner with Sony expires at the end of 2006.

Bumpy slate

Due to the uneven performance of Revolution’s slate — pics have ranged from “Black Hawk Down” to “Gigli” — extension of the partnership has been questioned, particularly as Sony has bulked up its properties with the recent MGM buyout.

Revolution provides about a third of Sony’s slate, producing and co-financing about seven or eight pics per year.

That number will be reduced next year to about five.

In the current negotiations, Sony is seeking a more amenable financial agreement with Revolution. Sony pays more than 40% of production and all marketing and distribution costs for Revolution pics.

Garner and Roth’s history dates back more than a decade to Disney, where Roth was studio president and Garner was co-prexy of the Buena Vista Motion Picture Group. When Roth founded Revolution he brought Garner with him.

“Todd and I have enjoyed an incredible ride together over the last 11 years at Disney and here at Revolution, where he has personally shepherded many of our biggest hits,” Roth said. “For years, I have known that in his heart he wanted to be a producer. Considering his talents I am excited for him that he is finally following his true ambition.”

Garner said: “I have been with Revolution Studios from the beginning, and Joe, Rob, Tom and the entire Revolution staff are like a family to me. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and I look forward to continuing my relationship with this fantastic company.”

Garner’s first project will be as an exec producer on “The Fog,” which comes out in October. He’ll also join Suzanne and Jennifer Todd as a producer on the Tim Allen comedy “Zoom.” He’s also producing along with Nicolas Cage and Norm Golightly the sci-fi action thriller “Next” and with Ted Hartley, Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez the remake of “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.”

As a Revolution exec, he oversaw “XXX,” “Anger Management,” Daddy Day Care,” “Hellboy” and “13 Going on 30.”

At Disney he worked on “Pearl Harbor,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Remember the Titans” and “The Waterboy.”