You gotta love the entrepreneurial nature of this business. First Tom Cruise’s nascent production company announces a deal with the Writers Guild of America, turning on a veritable screenwriters’ spigot that poured out thousands of scripts for United Artists, which Cruise co-runs with Paula Wagner. Then The Weinstein Co., which has had its own fair share of turbulence since splitting from Walt Disney, signs a deal. And now, Media Rights Capital, a burgeoning company — they like to be called a “mini-studio” but are best known for the $40 million deal they struck with Universal for Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming Bruno feature — has inked an independent agreement with the WGA. The deal is similar to the ones signed by UA and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants and will enable the company to continue putting projects together for clients such as Cohen, Seth MacFarlane, and director Richard Kelly.
What is unique about the timing of this deal is that MRC has three projects in the works that will be distributed by Warner Bros. Production has already begun on Kelly’s The Box, starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, and now Robert Rodriguez’s family film Shorts and Ricky Gervais’ This Side of the Truth, starring Jennifer Garner, can get back to work with writers on board. Both movies are fully-financed MRC films, but as distributor, Warner Bros. — an AMPTP member — will also reap the benefits from MRC’s deal with the WGA.