EXCLUSIVE: Producer Eric Newman has formed Grand Electric, a new shingle that starts with a multi-year co-venture with StudioCanal that will enable him to acquire, develop and produce films for the European and U.S. markets. The company will be based in Los Angeles, and StudioCanal will be the financier, foreign sales entity and direct distributor in its stronghold territories.
It is the first overall deal that Newman has made since he and Marc Abraham split their Strike Entertainment partnership. Abraham wanted to concentrate on directing and is making the Hank Williams biopic I Saw The Light, with Tom Hiddleston playing Williams and Elizabeth Olsen playing Audrey Mae Williams. Newman has been busy exec producing the Netflix series Hemlock Grove and the upcoming Netflix drug war series Narcos, with Jose Padilha directing his Elite Squad lead Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar in the pilot. Newman and Padilha bonded on the RoboCop remake.
Key to this deal was Newman’s close relationship with the StudioCanal management team of Olivier Courson and Ronald Halpern, after StudioCanal financed and distributed 2010’s The Last Exorcism. Newman hatched the idea, and Strike produced with Eli Roth; the $1.6 million-budget film grossed $70 million worldwide and hatched a sequel.
“I am extremely fortunate to be able to formalize what has been an incredibly important relationship to me,” Newman said. “I look forward to being a part of the continuing expansion of StudioCanal as a stand-alone film content provider.”
Said Courson: “We are thrilled to be able to partner with Eric as he launches Grand Electric. Eric has great taste and knows how to make quality commercial films that play to audiences throughout the world. We are in advanced development with Eric and Jose Padilha on Revenge, and we look forward to many more films together; some may come from our large library, that comprises more than 5,000 titles and is a great source of IP.” StudioCanal’s upcoming pics include Paddington and the Pierre Morel-directed The Gunmen, which stars Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, and Idris Elba.
Newman and former Strike partner Abraham first worked together at Beacon Communications, and between those two stops Newman racked up producing credits that include the Zack Snyder-directed Dawn Of The Dead, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Children Of Men, the James Gunn-directed Slither, the Andrew Niccol-directed In Time and RoboCop with Padilha.
Newman’s deal was made by attorneys Craig Jacobson and Stewart Brookman.