Mex­i­can direc­tors, Uni­ver­sal in pact

The re­spected trio plans five mod­estly bud­geted films, some in Span­ish. Stu­dio hails ‘di­ver­sity.’

Los Angeles Times - - Business - By Lorenza Muñoz

Three prom­i­nent Mex­i­can direc­tors who had been shop­ping them­selves to Hol­ly­wood stu­dios as a team are form­ing a part­ner­ship with Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures.

Guillermo del Toro, Al­fonso Cuaron and Ale­jan­dro Gon­za­lez Inar­ritu will call their pro­duc­tion la­bel Cha Cha Cha. The deal will al­low the trio the kind of creative con­trol and own­er­ship few film­mak­ers en­joy.

Uni­ver­sal was viewed as the front-run­ner to make the deal, which was an­nounced Fri­day dur­ing France’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.

Al­though the to­tal cost of the five-movie pack­age could be as high as $100 mil­lion, the in­di­vid­ual films are bud­geted at a mod­est $10 mil­lion to $40 mil­lion. Some of the movies will be in Span­ish.

Uni­ver­sal will fi­nance the movies in part through its for­eign sales di­vi­sion, Fo­cus Fea­tures In­ter­na­tional. Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures In­ter­na­tional will dis­trib­ute the movies in some ter­ri­to­ries abroad. A U.S. and Cana­dian dis­trib­u­tor has not been named.

“Th­ese film­mak­ers truly rep­re­sent the im­por­tance of cul­tural di­ver­sity for the global au­di­ence,” said David Linde, co-chair­man of Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures.

Not all of the films will be from the direc­tors be­hind such ac­claimed films as Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Cuaron’s “Chil­dren of Men” and Gon­za­lez Inar­ritu’s “Ba­bel,” a best pic­ture Os­car nom­i­nee.

Also in­volved is Al­fonso Cuaron’s younger brother, Car­los, cowriter of the in­de­pen­dent hit “Y Tu Mama Tam­bien,” whose planned soc­cer drama “Rudo y Cursi” is in pre­pro­duc­tion. The other di­rec­tor is Ro­drigo Gar­cia, who made Sony Pic­tures’ up­com­ing drama “Pas­sen­gers” and di­rected episodes of the cable TV shows “Six Feet Un­der” and “Big Love.”

lorenza.munoz@la­times.com

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