Melee, Paramount Pact For Music-Based Movies

Melee Entertainment, formed last year by Bryan Turner and Scott Aronson, has reached an agreement

Melee Entertainment, formed last year by Bryan Turner and Scott Aronson, has reached an agreement with Paramount Pictures to produce music-based films using established recording artists in featured roles.

It's the second production pact for the studio with a music-based production entity since former MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston was appointed co-chief operating officer and co-president of Viacom in June. In September, Paramount and MTV Films signed Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine and Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg to a three-year, first-look feature deal.

The new agreement with Melee foresees the production of six feature-length films over three years, to be released by Paramount on home video. Some films might also be released theatrically. Melee will bring financing to the deal, which includes an option for Paramount to co-finance.

"We believe that the music consumer is a significantly underserved demographic in the made-for-video and theatrical business," said Thomas Lesinski, president of worldwide home entertainment at Paramount Pictures. "Bryan's experience and relationships in the music world are the perfect complement to our goal of rapidly growing this segment of the business. We are very excited about the potential of the partnership."

The films will be developed, produced and marketed to the fan bases of established recording artists. Melee will work closely with the artists to create stories and characters that resonate with their current fans but are not constructed too narrowly to break out to a wider audience.

Melee already is in talks with various recording artists regarding several projects and will potentially partner with the MTV, VH1, BET and CMT networks on projects.

Melee's production credits include "You Got Served," which opened at the top spot at the box office in January and went on to gross more than $40 million domestically.

Aronson and Seth Willenson negotiated the deal on behalf of Melee.