Hawaii Film Blog

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chris Lee to Make Legendary Pictures

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported today that Chris Lee will be president of Legendary Pictures, a new production company headed by venture capitalist Thomas Tull and backed by $500 million in private equity. The company just inked a 25-picture 50-50 co-financing and distribution deal with Warner Brothers. Legendary is expected to be based on the Warners' lot.

Legendary's investors include a host of VC outfits like ABRY Partners, AIG Direct Investments, Banc of America Capital Investors, Columbia Capital, Falcon Investment Advisors, and M/C Venture Partners. In the face of a declining U.S. box office, Tull attributes the private equity infusion to the profit potential of ancillary and international markets: "I myself would not have done this deal six or seven years ago. But the advent of DVD and overseas expansion of the box office has made the movie business much more attractive as an asset class."

Hawaii native son and former Columbia Pictures/TriStar production chief Lee has supervised such flicks as "Jerry Maguire," "Philadelphia," "As Good as It Gets," "My Best Friend's Wedding," "The Fisher King," "The Mask of Zorro," and "Apt Pupil." Lee returned to Hawaii to serve as Chairman of the University of Hawaii's Academy for Creative Media and is currently producing "Superman Returns" for Warners.

>> Legendary Warners deal [H'wood Reporter, 6/22/05]
>> $500 mil pic fund feeds Warner Bros. [Variety, 6/22/05]
>> Warner Venture With Investors [NY Times, 6/22/05]

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