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Kiss legend Gene Simmons, Arclight’s Gary Hamilton form company, launch Cannes sales on Renny Harlin’s ‘Deep Water’

Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons and Arclight Films chairman Gary Hamilton have launched Simmons/Hamilton Productions (working title) to develop, finance and produce features kicking off with Renny Harlin’s Deep Water.

Arclight has launched worldwide sales in Cannes on the survival thriller about international passengers whose plane is forced to make an emergency landing in shark-infested waters.

Production is scheduled to begin later this year with Simmons, Hamilton, Arclight Films’ Ying Ye and Rob Van Norden (Martin Campbell’s The Protégé) serving as producers.

The plan is for Simmons/Hamilton Productions to produce 25 theatrical features over an initial five-year period, with a focus on action, thriller and genre titles with global franchise potential. The parties said the slate is backed by a multi-billion dollar fund manager through a revolving finance facility.

Arclight Films’ CFO Brian Beckmann closed the slate funding deal. All films created under the new company will be produced by Simmons and Hamilton, with Arclight representing worldwide sales.

Simmons, Hamilton and Ye rekindled their relationship last year after first discussing the partnership five years ago. During Kiss’ tour of Australia last July the three sat down to create the foundation of the company.

“I’ve had my greatest success when working with planes or sharks,” said Harlin, whose credits include The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cliffhanger, and Die Hard 2. “Getting to combine those two of my favorite thriller elements in a character-driven action adventure is a dream come true. I can’t wait to take the audience on the scariest plane ride of their lives. Gene and Gary both are my old friends and I’m excited to rock n roll through the friendly skies with them.”

“Throughout my storied history in the music business, I’ve met all sorts of characters, but Gary Hamilton is the real deal!” added Simmons, whose producing credits include Armed Response starring Wesley Snipes and Anne Heche and Detroit Rock City with Edward Furlong and Natasha Lyonne.

“He’s a remarkable film executive and a great collaborator who, along with the fantastic team at Arclight Films, brings his expertise and outstanding knowledge of the film industry to this partnership. I am pumped and excited to be launching Deep Water as our first project together with the action maven Renny Harlin at the helm.”

“This exciting new partnership is a beautiful marriage of outstanding production and sales coupled with a colorful history of showmanship and shrewd business acumen,” said Hamilton. “Gene is not only a talented musician and performer, but he’s also a very savvy businessman and one of the most formidable cinephiles I’ve ever met – he’s the perfect partner as we introduce Deep Water to our buyers in Cannes.”

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