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The Black List Moves Into Movie Production With Meridian Entertainment

Franklin Leonard’s The Black List has formed a partnership with China-based Meridian Entertainment to produce and finance three to five English language films each year.

Under the deal, announced Friday, Meridian will be able to fully finance movie with budgets of $15 million and under. The partnership can also bring on co-financing partners.

Meridian develops and finances TV/film projects in the Chinese market and is the controlling majority owner of distributor United Entertainment Partners. Former journalist Jennifer Dong is the chairman. The company partnered with James Schamus through his Symbolic Exchange in 2015 and formed a co-financing alliance last year with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse.

Leonard first unveiled The Black List in 2005 as an annual survey of executives of their “most liked” motion picture screenplays not yet produced. Leonard, who has worked as a development executive at Appian Way, Mirage, Universal Pictures and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, has also added a Black List paid evaluation service that nurtures writers and their material.

“We will continue to run the Black List as we have since the beginning,” he told Variety. “I just want to help writers with great scripts get their movies made as consistent with their vision for those scripts as possible. Meridian will help us do that. It’s that simple.”

About a third of the approximately 1,000 screenplays named to the Black List have gone on to be produced, including “Argo,” “American Hustle,” “Juno,” “The King’s Speech,” “Spotlight,” “The Revenant” and “Hell or High Water.” The news was first reported by Deadline.



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