The companies will co-finance development and production of “The Body Snatcher,” a 1945 Robert Wise-directed thriller that starred Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff; the 1943 pic “I Walked With a Zombie”; and the 1946 Karloff starrer “Bedlam.” They’ve yet to select the fourth title from the RKO vault.
Deal was hatched by Evolution co-presidents Mark Burg and Oren Koules and RKO Pictures chairman-CEO Ted Hartley. They are out to writers and directors, some of whom are expected to come from Evolution Management.
Burg, Koules and Hartley will produce each picture with Twisted Pictures prexy Carl Mazzocone, with Jonathan Marshall exec producing. Movies will be budgeted at $10 million-$20 million. No distributor has been set.
In Twisted, Hartley has found producers with cash and a track record. Burg and Koules self-finance most of their genre pics. That includes the highly profitable “Saw” series, the fourth installment of which is being shot in Toronto for a fall release.
“These guys are very good at making scary pictures, and partnering like this is a great way for us to maximize the use of the RKO library and grow our company,” Hartley said.
Hartley most recently dipped into the library for “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,” the Cary Grant comedy that was turned into “Are We Done Yet?,” the sequel to the Ice Cube pic “Are We There Yet?” RKO was also a producer of “Curtains,” the original Broadway musical that stars David Hyde Pierce and drew eight Tony nominations and a win for Pierce.
For Twisted Pictures partners Burg and Koules, entree to the library gives access to a wealth of titles they feel are still viable.
“We’ve thought a long time about how to update these classic titles to make them commercial,” Burg said. “If these films go well, we hope it leads to more.”