You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Voltage juices up international strategy

Chartier's company brings slew of pics to Berlin

Voltage Pictures is firing on all cylinders, with two films premiering in Sundance, one more bowing in Berlin, 11 movies in post-production and another two that started shooting in January.

Founder and CEO Nicolas Chartier put his house on the line to bankroll “The Hurt Locker,” and while he admits it’s been easier since winning an Oscar to get more of his movies greenlit, he has a penchant for pouring money into his own films. “I have $15 million of my money in two movies right now, so I’m sleeping pretty badly until that money is collected,” he says.

His stress will certainly have been eased by Relativity’s $4 million acquisition of U.S. rights to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acclaimed directorial debut “Don Jon’s Addiction” at Sundance, though Fredrik Bond’s flashy action thriller “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” got a more mixed reception in Park City.

Both pics make their international bow in Berlin’s Panorama sidebar, along with the world preem of “Maladies,” starring James Franco.

Voltage produced the first two films and is selling the third as part of its strategy of mixing its own projects with a foreign sales slate from other producers.

Chartier, who’s worked many years in the trenches of foreign sales, is a sharp businessman, but he’s also a movie fan whose choices are driven by his own tastes and passions, and who’s prepared to back that up with his own cash. “We try to sell what the market wants, and I try to produce the movies that I think the market should want,” he explains.

His slate is a balance of straight-to-video fare starring the likes of Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal, such as “Force of Execution,” which started shooting this month, and theatrical movies across a wide range of genres, often with bold and challenging themes, such as Robert Redford’s “The Company You Keep,” the Rachel Weisz thriller “The Whistleblower” and the upcoming AIDS story “Dallas Buyers Club” starring Matthew McConaughey. Also shooting is a project he’s keeping under wraps, which he describes only as “an action movie starring Megan Fox.”

“I like the issue movies of the ’70s, films by Alan Pakula and Sydney Pollack, but fewer are being made now, so I have to make them,” Chartier explains. “I want to produce the movies by all those film legends who are incredibly talented but aren’t working so much, since the studios are doing all these stupid f/x movies.”

The Company You Keep,” which premiered at Venice and Toronto, has already grossed a very healthy $5 million in Italy, ahead of its U.S. release in April. He also backed William Friedkin’s provocative “Killer Joe,” and says his only recent disappointment is that awards voters overlooked McConaughey in that film, and Weisz in “The Whistleblower.”

He’s got high hopes this year for Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi “Zero Theorem,” starring Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton, which shot in Romania last fall.

“The fun thing about producing is that you get to work with people you love,” he says. He next hopes to make a movie with Michael Mann, “because I want to see his next film,” he says.

While Chartier says Voltage is producing films because there aren’t enough movies being made by third parties that he likes, it’s “also a better business model, because you have a bigger upside when the movie works,” he says. The downside, of course, is the amount of his own money at risk.

Because the presales market is tougher than it used to be, he says, the company winds up putting a lot of equity in different movies, he says. But, he’s quick to note, it’s money that comes from “Hurt Locker,” and he’s re-investing it.

“I want to work with directors who are going to make movies that are thought-provoking and disturbing, and will stay in film history,” he says. “If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on special effects, you’d better have a story that’s so different, people think they should go and see it in the cinema instead of waiting to watch it at home.”

More Film

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Fox Layoffs: Distribution and Marketing Leaders Out

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content