Rise Entertainment will develop and finance films for Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures according to a new five-year deal the two companies announced on Tuesday.
Mike Witherill runs Rise Entertainment with a suite of partners and has helped finance projects such as ‘Drinking Buddies,” starring Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, and the upcoming “Frontera,” starring Ed Harris and Michael Pena.
Columbus (left), a director and producer of films such as "The Help" and "Mrs Doubtfire," has a series of upcoming films that will be covered under the deal. They include "Home Front," a book by Kristin Hannah that Columbus has adapted and will direct, as well as "Christ the Lord," an adaptation of Anne Rice's bestseller. Cyrus Nowrasteh adapted the book with Betsy Nowrasteh and will direct the film, the first financed and produced as part of this new partnership
While Columbus remains a high-profile filmmaker in Hollywood, production companies of all stripes have continued to seek outside financing as deals with studios diminish. No specifics of this deal were disclosed.
"This partnership is a dream come true for all of us at 1492,” Columbus said in a statement. “For years we have searched for partners as supportive and inspired as the group at Rise. Mike and his amazing team will enable us to make films with a wide emotional and commercial range, pictures with deep artistic integrity that will stand the test of time. It also gives us the ability to work with some of finest directors and actors of our generation."
This new deal will also cover another of Columbus' upcooming projects, "House of Secrets." That is the first novel in a planned series of three that Columbus is writing with Ned Vizzini. Columbus will then adapt the books for the big screen and direct.
HarperCollins already acquired "House of Secrets," which is set for publication in Spring 2013. Principal photography is scheduled for January of 2014.