BREAKING: Warner Bros. has signed a two year exclusive first-look deal with Mike Karz and Bill Bindley’s new film production and financing company, Gulfstream Pictures. The company gets its start with an initial multi-million-dollar development fund from Korea-based 3D stereoscopic leader Redrover Ltd. and a consortium of U.S. private equity funds. Gulfstream’s first film is the The Nut Job, a $45-million animated feature directed by Peter Lepeniotis for Redrover and Toonbox Entertainment, a top Toronto animation studio, which becomes a sister company to Gulfstream.
Under the two-year pact, Gulfstream will be based on the Warners lot in Burbank and will co-finance development with Warners with the option of co-financing the films, which will be distributed worldwide by Warners. Gulfstream is currently meeting with additional investors to complete the formation of a $200 million film fund, of which Redrover and the U.S. private equity funds are lead investors. Gulfstream plans to produce and co-finance two films per year.
“I have been working with Warners for 10 years and have loved the experience,” Karz said. “They have an extraordinary executive team and we are thrilled to have them as partners for the new company. Gulfstream has the financial backing of Redrover, an innovative and ambitious company based in Korea. We feel our new production and financing capacity will give us access to top-tier material and enable us to attach top talent to our projects.
“Mike and Bill have been valued members of the Warner family for a long time,” said Greg Silverman, President of Production for Warner Bros. Pictures. “We’re excited to extend our relationship to include Gulfstream and eagerly anticipate making more great movies together.”
Hoe-jin Ha, Redrover’s CEO, said: “This opportunity is a historic step for the Korean film industry. We are very excited to set up this fund, supported by Warner Bros., and we look forward to co-financing many films through this partnership with Gulfstream.”
This new deal with Warners follows producer Karz’s long-standing relationship with the studio. He has most recently produced for Warners such hits as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, the latter of which set several box office records, including the top-grossing romantic comedy weekend of all time and the top-grossing Presidents’ Day Weekend opening.
Karz’s latest film for Warner Bros., “Thunderstruck,” starring the NBA’s Kevin Durant and directed by John Whitesell, was just released August 24.
Bindley and Karz are currently producing two projects for Warner Bros.: the comedy feature West Texas United with Russell Brand attached to star and written by Bindley and his brother Scott, who also wrote Say Uncle, a family comedy the duo is producing, with Bindley attached to direct. Bindley directed the Jim Caviezel-starrer Madison, a Sundance Film Festival favorite, distributed by MGM Pictures.