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Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced some of the biggest films of the ’90s, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “In the Line of Fire,” is relaunching its film division with co-founder and filmmaker Rob Reiner as CEO.
Reiner’s wife, Michele, will serve as co-president with Matthew George, who previously collaborated with the Reiners on the films “Shock and Awe” and “LBJ.” The studio will start with a $175 million film fund fueled by equity investors and entertainment banks. David Oliver of CIT Bank, N.A, who will act as administrative agent, structured the senior debt facility with Daisy Stall of California Bank &Trust.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Rob Reiner said in a statement. “The Castle Rock lighthouse has always signaled a safe harbor for the creative community. With this relaunch, we will be able to continue the tradition of providing an environment for filmmakers to do their best work.”
“Rob and his partners built Castle Rock into one of the most amazing brands in entertainment history,” George added. “I look forward to working with Rob, Michele and our talented team of executives and creatives to build upon that legacy of making great films that impact the next generation.”
Reiner founded Castle Rock in 1987 with Martin Shafer, Andrew Scheinman, Glenn Padnick and Alan Horn. The studio burst onto the film scene just two years later with the acclaimed romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally,” and went on to have an immeasurable impact on TV as producers of the classic sitcom “Seinfeld.”
In 1993, amid the success of “Seinfeld,” Castle Rock was acquired by Turner. Three years later, the studio found its way into the portfolio of Time Warner after it merged with Turner. Over the course of the late ’90s and the early 2000s, Castle Rock was slowly folded into Warner Bros. following a string of box office flops. The Reiners relaunched Castle Rock as a TV production studio last year, signing a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Television.
Warner Bros., which owns the Castle Rock film catalog, will also have a first-look film deal with the revived studio. Along with the Reiners and George, other top executives at Castle Rock include CFO He-nan Narea, formerly managing director and principal of JPMorgan Chase’s securities subsidiary in New York; SVP of Development Courtney Shepard, formerly of Savvy Media Holdings; and Michelle Goldfine, who will be promoted to VP of development from the director of development role she previously held at Castle Rock Television. T.J. Bryson has also been hired as a development executive.
The deal was negotiated by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP for Castle Rock Entertainment, Latham & Watkins and Cohen Gardner LLP for the private equity investors and O’Melveny & Myers LLP representing the lender syndicate.