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Hammer Films to come back

Mister Nizz

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Back from the Grave?

Noticed in Reuters/Hollywood Reporter/Yahoo News:

Hammer Films has risen from the grave

By Stuart Kemp
Reuters - Friday, May 11 12:13 pm

LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - The coffin lid for cult British horror label Hammer Film Prods. has been pried open once again, this time by a group of European investors.

The consortium -- which includes such industry players as Dutch reality-TV mogul John de Mol and Hollywood producers Guy East and Nigel Sinclair -- plans to resurrect the dormant label and put it back into production for the big and small screen alike.

No financial details of the deal, which includes Hammer's 295-title library, were given, but those close to the deal said it was in the millions of dollars.

The new management team is headed by former Liberty Global European executives Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper, with East and Sinclair of Los Angeles-based label Spitfire Pictures on board as non-executive directors.

Oakes said in an interview that the business plan will concentrate on making films under the Hammer banner rather than initially trying to resurrect some of the old titles.

Hammer, founded in 1949, is best known for its gothic horror productions in the 1950s and 1960s. The banner was responsible for the classic movie series of Dracula, Frankenstein and Quatermass, forever imprinting its "Hammer House of Horror" slogan here and abroad.

Oakes said East and Sinclair would give the company entree in Hollywood and "access to the best writers and talent" looking to make horror films.

Prior to the deal announced Thursday, Hammer had been in advanced negotiations to join forces with independent production firm Ealing Studios .

That deal fell apart because of concerns surrounding Hammer's valuation of its film library. The other problem facing any new owner is a rights horror story. Several high-profile titles such as those starring "Dracula" and "The Werewolf" are tied up by studios, including Warner Bros., Columbia and Universal, with remake rights and ownership of characters a legal minefield.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Attribution: Copyright 2007 Reuters Inc.