Agent-turned-producer Arnold Rifkin, who’s no longer partnered with Bruce Willis, has launched a company with indie producer Christopher Eberts that will focus on genre pics, comedies and bigger-budgeted titles.
Rifkin and Eberts, nephew of producer Jake Eberts, have already built a slate of films, with four pics completed or almost completed. Newly named Rifkin-Eberts is readying another three for production, and actively developing two more. Eberts was previously co-owner of Ascendant Films.
Twentieth Century Fox has just acquired one of the films, “The Tourist,” starring Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams and Maggie Q. Directed by Marcel Langenegger, film is now in post. Jackman’s Seed Prods. is producing with Rifkin-Eberts, while Media Rights Capital helped finance.
Story revolves around an accountant who is lured to a mysterious sex club by a friend, only to be caught up in a woman’s disappearance and a heist.
Rifkin-Eberts will be based out of the same Santa Monica office space used by Cheyenne Enterprises, the film and TV production shingle owned by Rifkin and Willis. Eberts was previously co-owner of Ascendant Films.
Rifkin, who had repped Willis as an agent for 18 years, launched Cheyenne in 1999 after ankling as head of the William Morris Agency.
Rifkin-Eberts will continue Cheyenne’s television business, with Todd Schotz running that unit. Previous projects include “Touching Evil,” “Scarlett” and Danny Glover starrer “The Law and Mr. Lee” (Glover is a former client of Rifkin’s).
On the film side, Rifkin-Eberts will begin production on helmer Tony Kaye’s thriller “Black Water Transit” in New Orleans on April 30. Pic, financed by Capitol Films, stars Samuel L. Jackson. Storyline revolves around the owner of a container shipping company who is forced to help the feds expose a rogue CIA agent.
Rifkin said their plan is to annually turn out two bigger titles, such as “Tourist” or “Transit,” with budgets between $10 million and $30 million. They aim to do three genre pics a year costing $10 million and under.
They also will build a comedy slate, beginning with director Don Michael Paul’s “Who’s Your Caddy,” which Dimension Films will release on July 28 in association with Black Entertainment Television’s Robert L. Johnson. Laffer stars Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, Jeffrey Jones and Faizon Love.
Rifkin-Eberts is raising financing from various sources, including Romanian production company Film Tiger, which has partnered with Rifkin-Eberts to co-finance and co-produce genre pics.
They already have teamed on four films, three of which are horror-thrillers — helmer Tony Giglio’s completed “Timber Falls,” about a camping trip that turns hellish, writer-director Adam Ripp’s horror-thriller “Scavenger” and “Night Train.”
The fourth title Tiger Films and Rifkin-Eberts are teaming on is laffer “The Woody,” developed and brought to Rifkin and Eberts by producer Todd Traina, son of Danielle Steele. Story is about a young married couple who go to the wife’s parents’ home in Napa Valley expecting a quiet interlude, only to be disrupted by the arrival of a sibling who wants to shoot a soft-porn film, as well as the unexpected return of the parents.
Tiger’s Michael Philip has office space at Rifkin-Eberts, while Tiger’s Jo Marr works in Romania.
Rifkin-Eberts is also developing two bigger-budgeted titles: “The Deal,” to be directed by Michael Corrente, and “True Believers,” based on Doug Richardson’s tome of the same name, which Jim Gillespie will direct.
Eberts and Rifkin said they plan to take six projects to the Cannes market: “Timber Falls,” “Scavenger,” “Night Train,” “Woody,” “Deal” and “True Believers.”