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Coke Forms Movie Firm With Rob Reiner, 4 Others

October 13, 1987|WILLIAM K. KNOEDELSEDER Jr. | Times Staff Writer

A new independent movie and TV production company called Castle Rock Entertainment has been formed by movie director Rob Reiner and four other individuals in partnership with the entertainment division of Coca-Cola Co.

The company already has received $30 million in funding from Coca-Cola, and another $65 million in credit is being negotiated with Security Pacific National Bank, according to Castle Rock principal Alan Horn, former president of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and chairman of Embassy Communications.

The other principals are former Embassy TV President Glenn Padnick, movie producer Andrew Scheinman and Martin Shafer, former president of production for Embassy Pictures. They will own 60% of Castle Rock, with Coca-Cola holding the remaining 40%.

Scheinman produced Reiner's last three critically praised films--"The Princess Bride," "The Sure Thing" and "Stand By Me." (Castle Rock is the fictional small home town of the four adventurous 12-year-old boys in "Stand By Me.") In fact, the five Castle Rock principals "are all very good friends" who have worked together in various capacities over the years, said Horn, adding that neither he nor anyone else will be the company's chief executive.

"We are deliberately avoiding the use of titles and just doing what's comfortable," he explained. "We figure things will gravitate to the individual's office that's appropriate. We run it in a very egalitarian fashion, like in ancient Greece; we vote on things and decide what to do."

The company said it plans to make 18 motion pictures over the next five years in partnership with Nelson Entertainment, which previously had negotiated a 12-picture production deal with Coca-Cola when it purchased Embassy Home Entertainment from Coke. Castle Rock will now substitute for Coca-Cola in that deal, with Castle Rock and Nelson contributing equally to the production and marketing costs of the films.

According to Horn, the film projects will be budgeted between $8 million and $15 million. The first is "an untitled romantic comedy that Rob is working on now," he said. "It's clear from what we are doing that everything that Rob does in next five years will be through Castle Rock.

According to Horn, Castle Rock will divide its energies "50-50 between motion pictures and TV.

"I think that the kind of films that you've learned to expect from Rob is representative of the things you can expect from us. On the TV side, we're going to do quality shows."

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