From Yahoo!- <span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'>Jennifer Garner mentioned in the company's 1st projects.</span> Stratus Film Co. and Universal Pictures/Focus Features Reach Three-year, Co-finance/Distribution Agreement Monday May 19, 6:15 pm ET UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Pictures and Focus Features have concluded a three-year, first-look, co-finance and distribution deal with Stratus Film Company, it was announced today by Stacey Snider, chairman, Universal Pictures and Bob Yari and Mark Gordon, partners, Stratus Film Company. Stratus is an independent motion picture production and financing company, founded in the fall of 2002 by producer Gordon ("Saving Private Ryan," "The Day After Tomorrow") and producer-financier Yari. Mark Gill ("Frida," "The Talented Mr. Ripley") serves as the company's president with Neil Sacker, the former head of business affairs at Miramax Films, as executive vice president. The company finances, co-finances, produces and makes equity investments in films largely budgeted between $10 and $60 million -- and intends to make five to seven pictures per year. Ms. Snider said, "We're very excited about our new partnership with Stratus. The expertise, taste and talent of their principals are the kinds of qualities that we value most in making films for both Universal and Focus. Their ability to package films of real quality has already been proven in several brief months, and we are very happy to be their first-look home." "The combination of Universal and Focus is an absolutely ideal fit for us: both labels have deservedly come to be known for smart management, good taste in a wide range of movies, a strong affinity for financial partnerships and exceptional marketing and distribution teams," Yari said. Said Gordon: "After only six months of operation at Stratus, we now see that our original projection of three films a year was shy by half. The good news is that we're finding, shaping and packaging enough great material to finance and produce six films annually. And now, thanks to this new partnership with Universal and Focus, we have every confidence that we're in the best possible hands to co-produce and distribute our pictures." Among Stratus Film Company's first projects are: -- "Laws of Attraction," starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore and directed by Peter Howitt ("Sliding Doors," "Johnny English"). This romantic comedy about two divorce lawyers who face off in and out of court starts shooting June 16 in Dublin, and later moves to New York. It is a co-production with Intermedia Films. New Line Cinema will distribute the film domestically. -- "The Remains of the Piano," a spoof of the Merchant-Ivory costume dramas written and directed by Monty Python co-founder Eric Idle, with an ensemble cast that includes Orlando Bloom, Neve Campbell, Billy Connolly, Tim Curry, Anjelica Huston, Will Kemp, Alfred Molina, Catherine O'Hara, Geoffrey Rush, Julian Sands and Patrick Stewart. Production starts August 18 in Vancouver. -- "Happy Endings," starring Jennifer Garner and Lisa Kudrow -- a contemporary comedy written and directed by Don Roos ("The Opposite of Sex," "Bounce"). Production is set to start mid-to-late summer. -- "Matador," a black comedy about a most unlikely friendship between a globe-trotting assassin with a taste for extremes and a suburban couple from Denver. Richard Shepard wrote and will direct a cast led by Pierce Brosnan. Production starts Sept. 29. -- "The Painted Veil," starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, based on the Somerset Maugham novel. -- "Killing Pablo," written and to be directed by Joe Carnahan ("Narc") based on the book by Mark Bowden ("Black Hawk Down"). This is the true story of the high-stakes chase to track down and stop the seventh richest man in the world -- the notorious Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Stratus is partnered with Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks on this film. Stratus Film Company is based in Los Angeles.