Celebrating their banner’s seventh anniversary this month, Temple Hill is busy building on its $3.3 billion-grossing “Twilight Saga” success, mainly through multiyear first-look deals at Fox and ABC Studios (home to its first TV series, the hit “Revenge”).
The duo behind Temple Hill, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, are looking at a busy Valentine’s day, with two films bowing: Lasse Hallstrom’s adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ “Safe Haven,” and for less romantic cinemagoers, Bruce Willis actioner “A Good Day to Die Hard.”
“From the very beginning, our vision was to make movies that connect with the heart, and appeal to the broad middle of the country — we jokingly called it Red State Pictures,” Godfrey says. “All of the movies we’ve done on some level have been love stories.”
They’ve made the most of their fortune by adapting lit projects for the underserved female audience, often bringing authors like Stephenie Meyer and Sparks into the process as producers.
“We looked up at one point and realized that so many studios and films were dedicated to the fanboys,” Bowen says. “It seemed strange to us that 60% of the audience was considered a niche. So we said, if you can make a movie that fits into that ‘niche’ and doesn’t cost $200 million because of visual effects, that’s an interesting business to be in.”
With this in mind, then-UTA partner Bowen and Davis Entertainment prexy Godfrey launched Temple Hill, with Catherine Hardwicke’s $46 million grossing “The Nativity Story.”
“Three years after ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ no one had tried to make another movie that had biblical themes,” Bowen recalls. “We thought, if something as divisive and R-rated as the death of Christ did so well, wouldn’t it be interesting to do something that was more unifying, like the birth of Christ?”
Their relationship with Hardwicke and Summit exec Erik Feig led them to the similarly wholesome (for a vampire story) “Twilight Saga,” and a meeting with Channing Tatum helped get the first of two Nicholas Sparks/Lasse Hallstrom romance adaptations, “Dear John,” off the ground. Even the corruption-filled “Revenge” has a love triangle at its center, Godfrey notes. (Their involvement in the “Die Hard” sequel, something of an outlier on the slate, came via Godfrey’s producing history with helmer John Moore and Fox.)
Godfrey says Temple Hill’s 10-person shingle plans to double down on its television business, via projects sold to ABC (including industry-based drama “Hollywood & Vines,” Mark Twain adventure “Finn & Sawyer,” thief drama “Heist” and another Sparks drama, “The Watchers”) as well as an expansion into cable (a series in development at Showtime).
Among the company’s numerous features in development (including biblical epic “Goliath” at Relativity, Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man” at Universal, young love story “Oxford” at Screen Gems, young adult book series adaptation “Legend” at CBS Films and E-book romance adaptation “On the Island” at MGM), the first off the runway will likely be Fox 2000’s adaptation of the teen romance bestseller “The Fault in Our Stars” and the Taylor Lautner-toplined parkour thriller “Tracers.”
“We want to continue working with the people we love, in the genres that we’re excited about,” Godfrey says, “looking for things that are missing in the marketplace and trying to find ways to expand into them.”