Eisner Media Company in Movie Deal With Universal Pictures

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Former Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) CEO Michael Eisner is getting back in the movie business.

The 70-year-old said Tuesday that the media company he founded, The Tornante Company, will finance films that will be distributed by Comcast Corp.'s (Nasdaq: CMCSA  ) Universal Pictures.

The distribution deal will likely help Tornante raise outside financing.

There is no set number of films in the multiyear deal. Universal has similar arrangements with several production companies, including producer Joel Silver's Silver Pictures. This year, those arrangements resulted in just one film, Pitch Perfect, which came out in September and grossed $62.6 million worldwide.

Eisner built a reputation at Disney, and at Paramount Pictures before that, for backing mid-budget films with recognizable actors and well-written scripts such as Terms of Endearment (1983), Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Ruthless People (1986).

He was CEO of The Walt Disney Co. from 1984 to 2005.

"Michael Eisner has been a powerful creative force behind some of the world's greatest films and we're confident that with Tornante, he'll continue that tradition," said Universal's co-chairs, Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley, in a statement.

Another Eisner company, Vuguru, has made shows for audiences online and overseas, including The Booth at the End, a drama about a mysterious wish-granting man who sits in a diner. It plays on online video service Hulu.


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