EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has re-upped Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner through 2015. This comes after the studio re-upped Imagine Entertainment in January, keeping the studio’s most tenured production companies in the fold. Like Universal chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley did with Imagine, Working Title’s deal has been scaled back; instead of exclusive, it is now a first-look deal. The Working Title pact was due to expire next year. Working Title’s films at the studio have grossed $4.25 billion since they began with Universal in 1999, and Bevan and Fellner bring a British sensibility and a supply of prestige to the studio. The re-up comes at a time when Working Title will release two high profile awards season films in late 2012: the Tom Hooper-directed Les Miserables, and the Joe Wright-directed Anna Karenina, the latter of which will be released by Focus Features.
“Working Title has been an invaluable partner for Universal with our two companies enjoying tremendous success on films that have delighted audiences all over the world,” Fogelson and Langley said. “Tim and Eric are true leaders in the global production space which gives us more of an opportunity to be in business with some of the best international talent and we’re thrilled to be extending our partnership.”
Said Bevan and Fellner, “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with our friends at Universal. It has been a long and fruitful relationship and we are very much looking forward to more successes over the coming years.”
Hooper, who last directed The King’s Speech, has just gotten underway with Les Misérables, the musical that stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Sasha Baron Cohen, Amanda Seyfried and Helena Bonham Carter. Bevan and Fellner are producing with Cameron MacKintosh. Working Title is partnered with Imagine and Revolution on Rush, the Ron Howard-directed rivalry between Formula 1 champions Niki Lauda and James Hunt, based on a Peter Morgan script. That film is shooting, as is Closed, the John Crowley-directed film that stars Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall.
Working Title wrapped Anna Karenina, which stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson. Working Title continues to develop Bridget Jones’s Baby, which has director Peter Cattaneo attached to direct and Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant poised to return, once they get the script right.
Recent Working Title have included Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy, Billy Elliot, Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Frost/Nixon, Elizabeth, The Golden Age, Fargo, Burn After Reading, Notting Hill, O Brother Where art Thou, About a Boy, Love Actually, The Interpreter, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, as well as the Nanny Mcphee, Johnny English and Bridget Jones franchises. Working Title’s latest release was the Mark Wahlberg-starrer Contraband.