×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Dracula’ Eyed as Legendary’s First Film with Universal Pictures (EXCLUSIVE)

Legendary will commit up to $350 million a year to make movies at Universal

Thomas Tull may have found his next creature feature.

The producer of monster movies like “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim” is wasting no time in choosing which films he wants to make at Universal Pictures, with “Dracula” poised to become the first high-profile project his Legendary Entertainment will co-finance with the studio. The film, directed by Gary Shore and starring Luke Evans (pictured above) and Dominic Cooper, is already in production and slated for release Aug. 8, 2014.  Legendary is in discussions with U executives about coming aboard the project.

Spokespeople for Legendary and Universal declined to comment.

Legendary is combing over Universal’s slate for a number projects it will help fund under its new five-year co-financing and distribution pact with the studio. Tull and his team will also consider co-funding the fourth installment of Universal’s planned reboot of the “Jurassic Park” franchise, which like “Dracula” is an offering that would fit well with his fanboy interests and his company’s DNA.

Jurassic Park 4” — which is expected to begin production next year — is the first of several new big budget tentpoles that Universal is giving the greenlight, including the seventh “Fast and the Furious” installment. The racing franchise, however, as well as animated movies from Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, are excluded from Legendary’s deal with Universal, according to several individuals familiar with the arrangement.

According to several people with knowledge of the agreement that the parties inked this summer, Legendary is committed to invest, on average, $275 million annually in U’s films and its own properties within the first two years of the deal. For the remaining three years, Legendary will invest $350 million a year, these people said, declining to speak on the record because the financial terms are confidential.

For its part, U is committed to invest at least $175 million in a specified handful of Legendary’s films.

For the projects that Legendary and U co-finance, the production company will pay the studio a 10% distribution fee. Legendary’s fee drops to 8% for homegrown movies that it fully finances.

Legendary will have a plentiful number of U monster movies to chose from, including “Van Helsing” and the upcoming “Mummy” sequel, both of which would seem natural co-financing vehicles for the company behind next year’s “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim.”

“Jurassic Park” would also seem a natural for Legendary, which will make a decision about co-financing pending final review of the script and the project’s other elements. Although Steven Spielberg won’t be directing the next “Jurassic Park” movie, his hefty gross participation in the VFX franchise will take a significant bite out of the pic’s profits.

SEE ALSO: Legendary Entertainment Moves to NBCUniversal

Tull, who has never wanted to be a passive financier, moved his longtime deal from Warner Bros. to Universal after his desire for more creative control over tentpoles like Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and “Man of Steel” created tension with several Warner executives. Universal parent Comcast Corp. was heavily involved in negotiating Legendary’s deal with the studio.

So far, Legendary’s already brought one film, the fantasy epic “Seventh Son,” from Warner Bros. to Universal, while it still has “Godzilla,” the sequel “300: Rise of an Empire” and Guillermo del Toro’s horror pic “Crimson Peak” set up at WB.

Tull and his team are also busy developing a number of in-house, big-budget Legendary projects including adaptations of videogames “Warcraft” and “Mass Effect,” supernatural action thriller “Spectral” and comic book adaptation “Brilliance.”

Universal wanted to be in business with Legendary because it needed an injection of tentpole fare for its release slate, much in the way the studio added family-friendly films through its co-ownership of Illumination  (which produced the “Despicable Me” franchise). U has also been interested in offsetting risk through third-party financiers like MRC, which has backed pics including “The Adjustment Bureau” and the “Ted” films.

But unlike Warner Bros.’s DC Comics which provided Legendary with superheroes to play with, Universal has little to choose from other than its classic monster properties like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Invisible Man.

It’s not surprising that Legendary would eye “Jurassic Park,” one of the studio’s few runaway franchises which is being rebooted next year. The first “Jurassic Park,” released in 1993, grossed a whopping $920 million worldwide. The second installment, in 1997, took in $614 million, and the third film generated just $363 million. This year, Universal released a 3D version of the original “Jurassic Park,” which recently debuted to huge numbers in China. So far, the re-release has sold more than $90 million in tickets worldwide.

SEE ALSO: ‘Jurassic Park’ 3D Bows Big in China, But Follows ‘Titanic’ Wake

Universal is eyeing “Jurassic Park 4” for a summer 2015 release that will be directed by Colin Trevorrow (“Safety Not Guaranteed”), from a script by Derek Connolly and Trevorrow. No cast has yet been hired.

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein trial Jan 28

    Harvey Weinstein Trial: Accuser's Ex-Roommate Says She Was Told About Alleged Rape in 2006

    Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York continued Tuesday with the former roommate of one of the ex-movie mogul’s accusers corroborating details of Weinstein’s alleged 2006 sexual assault. Elizabeth Entin, who was Miriam Haley’s roommate at the time Haley alleged she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein, testified that Haley, a former assistant on “Project Runway,” [...]

  • Gloria Allred

    Gloria Allred Rips Apart Weinstein's Defense Team for 'Putting the Blame on Women'

    Shortly after Harvey Weinstein accuser Miriam Haley took the stand and testified that she was sexually assaulted by the fallen movie mogul over a decade ago, her attorney Gloria Allred ripped apart Weinstein’s defense team, speaking to press outside of the courthouse. During the six-hour testimony, Haley told the jury that Weinstein forcibly performed oral [...]

  • Desus Nice, The Kid Mero. Desus

    'Desus and Mero' Duo to Receive Bronx Cheer at Museum Gala

    Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez, the pair better known as Desus and Mero, are set to receive a hometown salute on March 2 when they will be honored along with others by the Bronx Museum. The hosts of the Showtime late-nighter “Desus and Mero” will be included as part of the museum’s Visionary Duos gala [...]

  • Lewis Capaldi

    Lewis Capaldi Signs Rights Deal With Kobalt

    Kobalt today announced that it has signed Lewis Capaldi to an international neighboring rights deal. The Capitol recording artist was previously represented by PPL for international collections. Ann Tausis, CEO of Kobalt Neighboring Rights, commented on the deal, “Lewis’s ascent to the top has been breathtaking. His emotive songs and charming social media presence have [...]

  • Boris Johnson Grants China's Huawei Limited

    UK Grants China's Huawei Limited Role in 5G Network, Despite Security Concerns

    The British government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, decided Tuesday to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to build parts of the country’s 5G network, in defiance of U.S. concerns over national security risks and the potential for Chinese espionage. The U.K.’s National Security Council green-lit the move to go ahead with “high risk vendor” [...]

  • Village Roadshow Studios Queensland

    Australia’s Village Roadshow Receives Second Takeover Bid

    Australian studios, cinemas and theme parks group Village Roadshow Limited has received a tentative takeover bid from private equity firm BGH. The bid follows a December offer from another funds group, Pacific Equity Partners. The earlier offer valued VRL at A$3.90 per share. BGL’s proposal is for a bid worth A$4 per share, payable in [...]

  • Us Basketball Team Players Lebron James

    LeBron James Breaks Silence on Kobe's Death: 'I'm Heartbroken and Devastated'

    In a heartfelt Instagram post, LeBron James broke his silence on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant late Monday, saying he was “heartbroken and devastated.” “Sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try, I begin crying again thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship, bond and brotherhood we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content