Sam Nazarian’s financing and production company Element Films has finalized a deal with Merrill Lynch for up to $220 million in funding, to be used for prints and advertising.
The P&A facility will cover Element’s upcoming motion pictures, including the Kevin Costner starrer “Mr. Brooks,” to be released by MGM next year, and three 2007 Lionsgate releases — “Pride,” a sports drama starring Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac; youth comedy “College”; and “Killers,” a horror story that begins filming next week and stars Agnes Bruckner, Taryn Manning and Patrick Flueger.
“This really makes us a quasi-studio,” Element prexy Adam Rosenfelt told Daily Variety. He noted that Element self-finances its projects, has a distribution arrangement with Lionsgate and controls international distribution via its foreign sales division, Element Films Intl.
The revolving loan facility provides Element with financing for the P&A budgets for a minimum of 10 releases over the next three years. Nazarian said the funds will give Element the opportunity to be in control of every aspect of its films.
“It allows us, in short, to act like a studio without being a studio, and that’s a great business to be in,” he added.
Element signed a three-year deal in March with Lionsgate, calling for Element to develop, self-finance and produce three pics a year for release by Lionsgate. Element said the P&A loan facility will enable Element to fully finance the marketing campaigns.
News of the deal with Merrill Lynch comes two months after Element announced a partnership with New Orleans’ Lift Films to make between eight and 15 pics over the next three years exclusively in Louisiana, with a potential outlay of more than $200 million.
Element previously has developed, financed and produced six films, including “Down in the Valley,” starring Ed Norton; “Waiting,” starring Ryan Reynolds; “Freshman Orientation”; “Evil Remains”; “Five Fingers”; and “The Last Time,” a comedic drama starring Michael Keaton and Brendan Fraser, now in post.
Element is a subsid of Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group, which owns several nightclubs such as L.A.’s Privilege, Hyde, Lobby Supper Club and Prey.