David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith, now together known as Katzsmith Productions, have signed a new feature producing deal with Warner Bros. Who are these guys?
Katzenberg wrote and directed a short film about a teenage nerd with a big unit that he later developed into the MTV series The Hard Times of R.J. Berger, and Garahame-Smith is the guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The two have been working together for a while, and Warners likes what they see; so much so that they’re expected to be handed the reigns of a sequel to the 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice as their first project.
Warner Bros. production president Greg Silverman explains the new deal, “We first got to know Seth through his fantastic work on Dark Shadows, and it immediately became a priority to expand our relationship with him. Seth introduced us to David, who greatly impressed us with the vision for KatzSmith from the very first meeting. We firmly believe in their talents and are extremely excited to welcome them to the Warners family.”
What is that “vision for Katzsmith” that Silverman is talking about? Apparently it’s a means of making movies that has been inspired by the work of Imagine Entertainment and Bad Robot, where the ideas for the movies largely come from the minds of the producers. Grahame-Smith explains, “We want to make big movies based on big ideas and inspired by the comedies we grew up loving. The thing we like about Bad Robot and Imagine is that they are never pigeonholed because they do good work across a broad spectrum. We want to slowly grow into a company that follows in those footsteps.” Katzenberg adds, “We pride ourselves on coming up with a lot of our own ideas, about 90% of the projects we’ve generated in film and TV are ones we created and developed. The studio will help us bring our ideas to the finish line.”
So how does that vision fit in with doing a sequel to somebody else’s movie? Maybe this is the other 10% of the equation that Katzenberg was talking about. And it should be noted that this would be a sequel to Beetlejuice that advances the story, not a reboot that just regurgitates what Tim Burton has already done with the character. Even though it’s not their concept, it’s a project that should allow Katzsmith to flex their creative muscles, and perhaps it will ease any lingering worries that higher up suits might be having about the duo by attaching them to a proven brand for their first film. Prove yourself with something we’ve made money off of, then we’ll talk about doing one of your ideas. Maybe. [Deadline Litchfield]