Arnon Milchan's company New Regency Productions and News Corp.'s Fox Filmed Entertainment have struck a deal to extend their longtime partnership through 2022, while at the same time providing a more active role for New Regency in its films released by Fox.
New Regency will develop and fully finance a larger percentage of its films that Fox will continue to distribute in theaters and on DVD. The new arrangement enables New Regency to assert more control over projects, while still enlisting Fox's worldwide marketing and distribution system.
?"This is great for both sides," said Fox co-Chairman Jim Gianopulos. "It allows New Regency to keep the upside on more films and it augments our ongoing slate of 16 to 18 movies a year" while reducing the studio's financial risk, he said.
Among the projects currently in the works are sequels to "Big Momma's House" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks"; a thriller called "Now," starring Justin Timberlake; and "What's Your Number," an "edgy" comedy starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans.
Over the last 13 years, the closely aligned companies have collaborated on 55 movies including the breakout hits "Marley & Me," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" film series as well as less successful offerings such as "Marmaduke," "Love and Other Drugs" and " Meet Dave."
New Regency — in which News Corp. owns a 20% stake — has co-financed about three-quarters of the movies it has made, while Fox fully financed the balance.
Since Hutch Parker, a former Fox executive, joined his former studio colleague Bob Harper at New Regency in 2008, the two have been stepping up production and plan to make five to seven pictures annually, up from three or four.
"This deal is shifting the balance," Parker said. "We'll be co-financing fewer films and making more on our own. This will allow us to be more maverick and take more creative risks."
Harper and Parker also said they were exploring plans this year to return New Regency to the television business. Despite past successes such as "Malcolm in the Middle," the company bowed out of the TV business in 2008 amid a changing landscape and tougher economics. "We can see an opportunity for a restructured approach," Parker said.