Revamped Capstone in Toronto With ‘Prisoner’s Daughter’ and New Slate of Pics

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Five years after founding Capstone, Christian Mercuri arrives in Toronto with a restructured company, a Gala world premiere and a promising slate of upcoming features.

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“As we’ve grown, we’ve separated our operations and rebranded, ” he says. “The worldwide sales side is Capstone Global, and the production and financing side is Capstone Studios.”

One of their first films under the new structure is Catherine Hardwicke’s “Prisoner’s Daughter,” the story of a terminally ill convict (Brian Cox) who’s tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Kate Beckinsale). Produced alongside Oakhurst Entertainment, Sam Okun Prods. and Pasaca Entertainment, it has its Gala bow on Sept. 14. UTA is handling U.S. sales and Capstone Global is covering international.

In August, Lionsgate released Capstone’s vertigo-inducing thriller “Fall” on around 1,300 screens across North America, taking in $6.5 million. Capstone produced with director Scott Mann and Mark Lane.

And at TIFF, the company is introducing buyers to Yuval Adler’s psychological thriller “Sympathy for the Devil,” a psychological thriller about a driver (Joel Kinnaman) forced to transport a dangerous man (Nicolas Cage). Production is now underway in Las Vegas. Hammerstone and Signature are producing with Capstone, which is handling worldwide sales.

Funded through private equity, the Beverly Hills-based company has around fifteen employees after a period of transitions. Roman Viaris, an exec producer of numerous action films, came aboard as CFO two years ago, around the same time Capstone’s founding partnership with Jaguar Entertainment’s Jeanette Zhou dissolved. Ruzanna Kegeyan joined as head of acquisitions in January 2019, and Joe Gatta was hired as Capstone’s head of production last October.

Capstone’s 2023 slate of action thrillers arguably has the company’s greatest potential for commercial and critical success to date. John Woo directs his first U.S. action film in over a decade, “Silent Night,” starring Kinnaman and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi (produced with Thunder Road). Gerard Butler reunites with his “Angel Has Fallen” and “Greenland” director Ric Roman Waugh for “Kandahar” (Capstone is producing alongside Thunder Road and Butler’s G-BASE shingle, and handling worldwide sales). And Stefon Bristol directs Sam Worthington, Jennifer Hudson, Milla Jovovich, Common and Quvenzhané Wallis in “Breathe.” The company is financing, producing with Thunder Road, and will rep international rights. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group helped arrange financing and will handle domestic sales with Capstone.

“We’re genre-agnostic, but we certainly lean on doing more commercial films,” Mercuri says. They’ve been his main focus since he began his career two decades ago in production at Millennium/Nu Image, where he rose to become president of international in 2010. He went on to become co-president of Red Granite Intl., overseeing international licensing for “Dumb and Dumber To” and other films.

Capstone now finances and sells around a dozen films a year, plus three or four sales-only titles. With creative and marketing teams, plus sales execs based in Europe, Mercuri calls it “a one-stop shop that’s producer- and director-friendly.”

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