I've always thought of Working Title, the U.K. production company, as making frothy British romantic comedies, from The Tall Guy to Four Weddings to Love Actually and, er, Shaun of the Dead. I didn't realize how many other kinds of films Working Title has been behind, including many of the Coens' projects, last year's United 93, and the upcoming Smokin' Aces, which is about as far as you can get from romantic comedy. Nor did I realize that Working Title was behind those early, edgy films of Stephen Frears like My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985 and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid in 1987. So they're not all Richard Curtis-directed films starring Hugh Grant. Their most successful films tend to be low-budget and low-concept.

Working Title has been part of Universal since 1999, when the parties signed an agreement due to expire at the end of 2007. Despite alleged offers from DreamWorks (which did so well in its partnership with another U.K. company, Aardman Animation) and Sony, Working Title co-chairs Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan just signed a new agreement on Friday to extend their stay at Universal for seven more years. The previous deal seems to have worked very well for both parties: Working Title has produced a number of low-budget sleepers and the slate does consistently well internationally. And no, it's not just because everyone likes Hugh Grant. The LA Times claims that Working Title is second only to Imagine Entertainment as "Universal's most consistent supplier of films."

categories Movies, Cinematical