AFM: Mister Smith Pacts Power its Picture Pipeline

With its fifth American Film Market starting, David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment has become an established  source of upscale mainstream movies in the turbulent international marketplace.

“I think it’s turned out well,” Garrett said. “When we started, I projected a much sturdier flow with Constantine, DreamWorks, and Broad Green. Everyone is finding it hard to get movies into production so one has to be much more judicious.”

Garrett and Ralpho Borgos, Mister Smith’s CEO and chief of international licensing and distribution, launched the London-based film financing and sales outfit just before the 2012 Cannes Film Festival opened. Recent titles have included Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG,” the director’s first movie handled in the independent sector; “The Light Between Oceans,” starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz;  “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” starring Dev Patel; and Jesse Owens biopic “Race.”

Broad Green Pictures, run by the billionaire Hammond brothers, acquired a 45% stake in Mister Smith last year, giving Mister Smith a third sources of movies for its pipeline in addition to pacts with DreamWorks and German giant Constantin, which also owns a minority stake in Mister Smith.

“Getting on board with the Hammonds two years ago was strategically very important,” Garrett notes. “It took us longer than we expected to get momentum.”

Even though DreamWorks is now a part of Amblin Partners, Mister Smith still handles DreamWorks titles in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Mister Smith AFM slate includes Broad Green’s thriller “Wish Upon,” with Ryan Phillippe and Elisabeth Rohm joining Joey King in the cast; Emily Blunt’s “The Girl on the Train”; “Office Christmas Party” with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman; “A Dog’s  Purpose” from director Lasse Hallstrom and starring Dennis Quaid and Britt Robertson; “Midnight Sun,”  starring Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Rob Riggle; “Step Sisters” (formerly “Ain’t No Half Steppin’ “); and “Beuena Vista Social Club: Adios.”

He’s particularly enthused about “Step Sisters” and is showing footage. “No one is wondering if we have movies,” Garrett added.

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