The producer of monster movies like Godzilla and Pacific Rim is wasting no time in choosing which films he wants to make at Universal Pictures, with Dracula poised to become the first high-profile project his Legendary Entertainment will co-finance with the studio. The film, directed by Gary Shore and starring Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper, is already in production and slated for release August 8, 2014. Legendary is in discussions with Uni executives about coming aboard the project.
Spokespeople for Legendary and Universal declined to comment.
Legendary is combing over Universal’s slate for a number projects it will help fund under its new five-year co-financing and distribution pact with the studio. Tull and his team will also consider co-funding the fourth installment of Universal’s planned reboot of the Jurassic Park franchise, which like Dracula is an offering that would fit well with his fanboy interests and his company’s DNA. (This also explains why Universal delayed the project.)
Jurassic Park 4 — which is expected to begin production next year — is the first of several new big budget tentpoles that Universal is giving the greenlight, including the seventh Fast and the Furious installment. The racing franchise, however, as well as animated movies from Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, are excluded from Legendary’s deal with Universal, according to several individuals familiar with the arrangement.
According to several people with knowledge of the agreement that the parties inked this summer, Legendary is committed to invest, on average, $275 million annually in U’s films and its own properties within the first two years of the deal. For the remaining three years, Legendary will invest $350 million a year, these people said, declining to speak on the record because the financial terms are confidential.
For its part, U is committed to invest at least $175 million in a specified handful of Legendary’s films.
For the projects that Legendary and U co-finance, the production company will pay the studio a 10% distribution fee. Legendary’s fee drops to 8% for homegrown movies that it fully finances.