UNIVERSAL MEDIA STUDIOS INKS NEW DEVELOPMENT DEAL WITH OSCAR-WINNING PRODUCTION TEAM OF WALTER F. PARKES AND LAURIE MACDONALD
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - July 30, 2010 - Universal Media Studios has signed a first-look, two-year development deal with the Oscar-winning producing team of Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald ("Gladiator," "Men in Black," "The Ring"). The announcement was made today by Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios.
"Our new working relationship with Walter and Laurie represents a perfect match for our brand and they've developed such a wide variety of success in both drama and comedy," said Bromstad. "They have an amazing resume and we want to translate that to television."
The husband-and-wife team of Parkes and MacDonald produced or executive-produced such feature films as "Gladiator," "Amistad," "Men in Black" (I and II), "Minority Report," "The Mask of Zorro," "Catch Me If You Can," "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," "The Terminal," "Road to Perdition" and "The Ring."
In 2007, Parkes and MacDonald created their own production company and produced the screen adaptations of the novel "The Kite Runner" and Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." In total, films produced or executive-produced by Parkes and MacDonald have earned $6 billion in worldwide box office.
As studio heads at DreamWorks (which they helped to create), Parkes and MacDonald were responsible for the company's diverse slate of films. Their films received Oscars for three consecutive Best Picture-winning motion pictures -- "American Beauty," "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind" (the latter two produced in partnership with Universal Pictures).
Other critical and commercial successes include the film "Almost Famous," "What Lies Beneath," "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Collateral" and Steven Spielberg's Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning "Saving Private Ryan."
They are currently preparing "Men in Black III" with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and their film "Dinner with Schmucks" is released nationwide today.
In 2009, Parkes and MacDonald paired with the Abu Dhabi Media Company to form Parkes-MacDonald Imagenation, a partnership that will fund screenplay development for the duo's projects at DreamWorks and other studios, and to provide production co-financing on selected films.
Parkes himself is a three-time Oscar nominee for his documentary "California Reich," and for writing (with Lawrence Lasker) the original screenplay for "WarGames." He earned a third nomination as producer on "Awakenings." MacDonald began her career as a documentary and news producer at KRON television in San Francisco. She later joined Columbia Pictures as Vice President of Production. Four years later, she began a production company with Parkes. Just prior to starting at DreamWorks, she also oversaw development and production at Amblin Entertainment.
Parkes and MacDonald are represented by UTA.