Former Warner Bros exec-turned-producer Basil Iwanyk makes the kind of star-driven big-budget films that offshore distributors were salivating over but couldn’t find enough of during Cannes. After previously leveraging that into a deal with London-based Cutting Edge Film Group that gives it music rights to five movies in exchange for development funding, and another with Italia Films and China-based Fundamental Films that promised Italia distribution rights in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East, and Fundamental releasing rights in China in exchange for a high seven-figure fund, Thunder Road has now closed a partnership deal with Christian Angermayer’s Film House Germany that amounts to a mid-seven-figure deal over three years.
This comes as the two companies are collaborating on several projects, including Ride Of The Valkyries, a fantasy film based on the German Nibelung Saga. The first project they’ll hatch from the new deal will be No Quarter, the Alessandro Camon/Michael Wilson-scripted drama about two Iraq War vets who take different paths when they return home from the Marines. At Cannes, Iwanyk joined as producer on Ivanhoe, which is being done by Film House subsidiary Eoli Tossell.
The deal gives Thunder Road the ability to buy and percolate material without permission from a studio. Iwanyk isn’t the only one doing that; it is becoming a survival mechanism for producers these days. More of them are cutting out the middle men and pre-selling distribution in offshore territories, keeping the rest of the rights.
“It all starts with the script, but the irony is that development money is the hardest to find,” Iwanyk said. “Christian and the team at Film House Germany understand that. We’ve had a great time working on our current mutual projects and look forward to many more.”
Said Film House subsidiary Summerstorm’s Gabriela Bacher: “At a time when the international market keeps growing in importance for independents, a more systematic approach to U.S.-European collaboration makes a lot of sense, not just in the development but also the production and financing of projects.”
Thunder Road’s upcoming films include Millennium’s Expendables 3, the Jeff Bridges-starrer Seventh Son at Legendary/Universal, the Keanu Reeves-starrer John Wick at Summit, the Alex Proyas-directed Gods Of Egypt, New Regency and Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell with Doug Liman directing Tom Hardy, and the Denis Villeneuve-directed Sicario.