Facts on Pacts — Which Producers Still Have Deals at Studios?

It used to be very common for a production company to strike a first-look, overhead or distribution deal with a studio. This symbiotic relationship helped both entities — the studio got first crack at any material the production company was developing, while the producers became privy to various benefits such as having their overhead costs covered, space on a studio lot tout of which to run their offices, a better shot at selling their product, etc. In the best of times, some studios had dozens upon dozens of producer deals.

But when the tides of the economy shifted, all that changed. Producer deals are costly, and they stopped making sense — why pay for contracts with fifteen different producer teams when you’re only releasing ten or twenty pictures each year? Thus the Facts on Pacts chart, released annually by Daily Variety to break down what producers have deals with what studios, is much more modest now than it used to be.

Even so, it’s a good resource and worth checking out to see which producers, in the minds of studio execs, are still worth taking a gamble on. Some have a solid history of producing profitable films (like Jon Turtletaub for Disney); others they have a good relationship with the studio (like BenderSpink for New Line); still others are former studio execs who have been shunted into producer deals to maintain good faith (Unique Features for Warner Bros.).

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