Sony has stake in "Vampires"
By BENEDICT CARVER and DAN COX
Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired U.S., U.K., Scandinavian and Benelux rights to JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES from Largo Entertainment.
The horror/action pic, which stars James Woods as a crusading vampire slayer in the pay of the Vatican, was directed by Carpenter and produced by Sandy Kings Storm King Prods. Don Jakoby wrote the screenplay.
Over the past six months many distribs have flirted with taking domestic rights to VAMPIRES, which cost around $19 million to make. Other bidders included MGM and Artisan Entertainment.
At one point the pic was also a candidate for distribution via Steve Stablers long planned new domestic distribution company.
Sources say that Sony won out with a $15 million offer, consisting of a large P&A commitment for around 1,500 screens but a relatively small advance. One source put the studios P&A budget for the pic at "north of $12 million."
VAMPIRES was acquired by senior VPs of acquisition Peter Schlessel and Clint Culpepper, of Sonys Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group division. Col TriStar Motion Picture Group had already taken Latin American rights to VAMPIRES.
VAMPIRES opened strongly in France several weeks ago, where it has taken $2.1 million to date. The R-rated pic will be released by Columbia Pictures in the U.S. Sept. 11.
Several other pics are due to come out this year targeting a similar demographic, including MGMs DISTURBING BEHAVIOR and Sonys own I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER.
Since bailing out of the Stabler venture in March, Largo has started to ink domestic deals for many of its films. Last month Lions Gate Films took U.S. rights to Paul Schraders AFFLICTION. Sources said deals were pending on other pics, including SHADOW OF DOUBT, THE ROAD TO GRACELAND and UNDER PRESSURE.
Col TriStar Motion Picture Group has become more aggressive in the arena of domestic pickups of late. Earlier this year it took U.S. rights to the Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner KNOCK OFF.