×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox high on hyphenate Kinberg

Studio's two-year pact with producer sign of times

Twentieth Century Fox’s first-look producing deal with Simon Kinberg points to the increasing clout some screenwriters are enjoying as producers — a duality usually reserved for television showrunners.

The two-year, nonexclusive pact with Kinberg’s Genre Films gives Fox direct access to his original ideas and keeps him close to the studio fold.

Kinberg’s films “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Jumper” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” have grossed north of $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office for the Fox family.

Fox is hoping to replicate the success of similar first-look deals elsewhere — such as Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci at DreamWorks, Akiva Goldsman at Warner Bros. and J.J. Abrams at Paramount.

Showrunners have long dominated in television, but feature screenwriters have had a more difficult time moving into producing.

That’s now changing, with Kurtzman/Orci, Abrams and Goldsman

producing a string of high-profile hits including “Star Trek,” “I Am Legend,” “Eagle Eye” and “Cloverfield.” Collectively, they have a strong slate of films in development at studios across town, including “Mission: Impossible IV,” the “Star Trek” sequel, “Paranormal Activity 2,” “Atlantis Rising” and “2:22.”

First-look pacts have been on the decline the past decade, and particularly the past two years. Often, a first-look deal includes paying some amount of overhead and space on the studio lot.

With the spec market in a slump, Fox prexy of production Emma Watts said having access to original ideas is at a premium.

The producing deal gives Kinberg the chance to farm out ideas to other writers, should he not want to work on the script himself.

“The writer-producer model has worked in television forever. People are now seeing it can work in features because of the success of people like Alex and Bob, and Akiva,” Watts said.

“In my experience, writers are often the best people to develop projects. You can maximize their instincts and understanding. Simon is one of the best in the business,” she continued.

Kinberg, a producer on Fox’s upcoming “X-Men: First Class,” said the “studio has been incredibly inclusive on every movie I’ve worked on with them, almost as in a producer role.”

Kinberg said the first-look deal gives him the opportunity to develop projects, in addition to his continued writing duties.

“Sometimes, you have more ideas than you have time to write, or are best suited to write. This gives me an opportunity to do more of that,” Kinberg said.

Upcoming films he is writing for the Fox fold include adventure pic “The Eighth Wonder,” which he’s developing with Nicole Kidman, and “The Hardy Men” for Fox 2000.

Projects set up elsewhere include action-comedy “Spys” at Warner Bros., “Luna” at Paramount, “Osterman Weekend” at Summit Entertainment and “Invasion” at Universal. He’s a producer on some of the projects, including “Luna” and “Osterman.”

Historically, first-look deals have been doled out to top producers and talent as a way of making them feel part of the studio. Fox’s other recent first-look deal was the pact struck with Peter Chernin’s new production company.

More Film

  • 'All These Small Moments' Review

    Film Review: 'All These Small Moments'

    The magic of writer-director Melissa B. Miller Costanzo’s “All These Small Moments” can be found within the intimacy of the scenarios, the authenticity of her earnest characterizations, and the accessibility of the actors’ honest performances. In her deftly polished directorial debut, Costanzo dovetails the primary story about a teen’s coming of age with a secondary [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • Bruce Dern

    Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern's 'The Lears' Bought by Vertical for February Release

    In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release. ACQUISITIONS Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day [...]

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content