EXCLUSIVE: Prolific Brit producer Damian Jones has inked a two-year, first-look deal with Fox Searchlight for his DJ Films LTD banner. The deal cements the already close relationship between Jones and Fox Searchlight. The two are currently working together on the feature adaptation of classic comedy Brit TV series Absolutely Fabulous. The film, which reunites the original cast with Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha as Saunders’ long-suffering, straitlaced daughter, is dated July 1st in the UK and July 22nd in North America. Deadline broke the news last November that Fox Searchlight was co-producing and co-financing the project with the BBC. Mandie Fletcher — who helmed a number of the original TV episodes — is directing.
This is a win-win for both parties. Jones gets access to a studio’s global infrastructure and, in Fox UK director of production and acquisitions Katie Goodson-Thomas, one of the smartest and well-respected execs around. For Fox, Jones has repeatedly proven himself a generator of reasonably priced, commercially successful product that can play in the UK and multiple territories. Jones’ most recent release, the feature adaptation of classic UK TV series Dad’s Army, pulled in over $10 million at the UK box office.
“’I am thrilled to have this deal with the exceptional team at Fox Searchlight,” said Damian Jones. “From our relationship starting with The History Boys through Belle, into Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and the upcoming production, Goodbye Christopher Robin it only felt natural to formalise our desire to make more wonderful and diverse films together.”
Ariadne Kotsaki will be joining DJ Films as Development Executive.
“Fox Searchlight Pictures has a long and exciting history of collaborating with our filmmaking partners in the British film industry, said Katie Goodson-Thomas. “We are proud to continue that tradition, and we know that our new pact with Damian serves to solidify our continuing commitment to, and appetite for, British films and British talent”