Overture Films signs interim deal

The WGA has inked another interim deal, signing with one-year-old Overture Films.

It’s the 14th such deal announced in the past month and comes on the heels of similar agreements signed last week with Lionsgate, Marvel and RKO. The interim deals let the companies hire writers under the terms and conditions offered by the WGA before formal negotiations with the AMPTP collapsed last month.

For the WGA, the deals are a way to gain leverage in persuading the congloms to resume formal talks.

The Overture announcement comes with a news blackout on the informal talks between WGA leaders and moguls. Those talks — aimed at laying the groundwork for official bargaining to resume — began a week ago.

Overture, backed by John Malone’s Liberty Media, launched operations in late 2006 headed by industry vets Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett. Its first feature, caper comedy “Mad Money,” opened earlier this month.

Rosett, whose title is chief operating officer, said in an interview that the interim agreement will allow Overture to continue begin moving forward on its 2009 slate. And he noted that as word got out Wednesday, the volume of inquiries accelerated.

“You could feel the momentum picking up this morning,” he added. “We feel like this is something that helps get us beyond being ‘in theory.’ We felt that we had a very reasonable conversation with WGA about what’s best for our company.”

Overture’s going into production Feb. 13 on “Humboldt Park,” which has a completed script. Upcoming releases include “Sleepwalking,” starring Charlize Theron and Tom McCarthy’s “The Visitor.”

The AMPTP’s standard statement about the WGA’s interim deals:  “These one-off agreements are meaningless because the companies signing them know they will not have to abide by their terms for very long, since they’ll be superceded by whatever final industry-wide accords are reached. If companies truly had to live by the terms of these one-off agreements, we are confident none would ever be signed.”