KISS bassist Gene Simmons will swap wanting to party every day for producing with Arclight Films chairman Gary Hamilton, as the pair launch new company Simmons/Hamilton Productions.
Established with the goal of producing 25 films over an initial five-year period, the venture will focus on action, thriller, and genre titles, targeting original theatrical projects that can be developed into franchise properties.
After initially discussing the partnership five years ago, Simmons and Hamilton reunited along with Arclight producer Ying Ye during KISS’s Australian tour last July and took the next steps in creating the business.
Arclight Films’ CFO Brian Beckmann finalised the slate funding deal, with all films created under the new company to be produced by Simmons and Hamilton, and to be sold internationally via Arclight.
The first title greenlit under the new company is Renny Harlin’s Deep Water, a survival thriller scheduled to go into production later this year. The story follows an eclectic group of international passengers whose plane, en route from LA to Shanghai, is forced to make an emergency landing in shark-infested waters, forcing them to overcome their differences if they hope to escape their sinking plane and the frenzy of sharks drawn to the wreckage.
The film is produced by Simmons, Hamilton, Ye, and Rob Van Norden, with Arclight Films to launch worldwide sales at the Marché du Film.
Hamilton described the partnership as a “beautiful marriage of outstanding production and sales might, coupled with a colorful history of showmanship and shrewd business acumen”.
“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,” he said.
One of the founding members of US rock band KISS, who have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, Simmons is no stranger to producing, having worked on John Stockwell’s 2017 horror/thriller Armed Response, starring Wesley Snipes and Anne Heche, and Adam Rifkin’s 1999 comedy Detroit Rock City.
He has also served as a creator and executive producer on A&E’s long-running reality series Gene Simmons: Family Jewels and Nickelodeon animated series My Dad the Rockstar.
The legendary rocker said he was “pumped and excited” to be launching Deep Water as the first project of Simmons/Hamilton Productions.
“Throughout my storied history in the music business, I’ve met all sorts of characters, but Gary Hamilton is the real deal,” he said.
“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.”