BREAKING: An announcement just went out that Jean-Luc De Fanti, Jeff Sagansky and Eli Baker have launched the Hemisphere Tentpole Co-Financing Fund, a revolving equity and debt fund that intends to co-finance 12-16 films over a four- to five-year period. They start with last weekend’s The Smurfs, and the upcoming The Adventures of Tin Tin, Men In Black 3 and World War Z. My colleague Nikki Finke broke most of this stuff last week, when she wrote that Sagansky, De Fanti and Baker’s Winchester was behind the co-financing effort. They are simply calling it by another name. The new wrinkle is World War Z, the Brad Pitt zombie movie. Paramount insiders said there was another financing entity besides the studio and David Ellison’s Skydance that got the $125 million movie moving, but they wouldn’t reveal the funding source. Obviously is was Hemisphere. Here’s the official release:
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: The deal is for these three movies: The Smurfs (Sony Pictures, which opens Friday), Men In Black 3 (Sony Pictures), and The Adventures Of Tintin (Paramount Pictures). I’ve learned that Jeff Sagansky of Winchester Capital closed financing for $150 million today. [Mea Culpa: I initially thought this was a deal with Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky because the pair recently announced Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. But this is unrelated.] Sagansky, the former CBS and Sony Pictures and Paxson and RHI exec, has come back to the movie biz in a big way with Winchester Capital Management co-founder Jean-Luc De Fanti. Movies that Sagansky and De Fanti co-financed through Winchester include The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Winchester also financed the third season of TNT TV drama Leverage and arranged a multi-picture financing deal for Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp.
EXCLUSIVE: Few showbiz execs have held as many top jobs as Jeff Sagansky. Now the former CBS and Sony Pictures and Paxson and RHI exec is back in the movie biz in a big way. Institutional investors are backing Hemisphere Media Capital, the new venture from Winchester Capital Management founders Jean-Luc De Fanti and Sagansky. Japanese distributors Toho-Towa and Kadokawa Pictures and Singapore-based producer/talent manager RGM Media are also on board. Hemisphere is in talks with a number of studios and plans to announce its first investments shortly. The Hemisphere Motion Picture Partners fund expects to invest more than $400 million in 8-10 movies over 4 years.