14 May 2001

Crusader Entertainment Acquires the Rights to Clive Cussler's Best-Selling Dirk Pitt® Book Series

Crusader to Collaborate with Renowned Author in Bringing Anticipated Action/Adventure Franchise to the Big Screen

CANNESIn a major announcement made at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend by Howard Baldwin, president of Crusader Entertainment, the rising production company announced that it has acquired the much-sought-after rights to the best-selling action-adventure books of Clive Cussler, featuring the popular character Dirk Pitt®. The first film of the franchise will be based on Cussler's popular Sahara novel. Other books in the series include Atlantis Found, Night Probe, Inca Gold and Flood Tide.

Since publishing his first Dirk Pitt® novel, Iceberg, in 1973, Cussler has constructed one of the most enduring popular cultural literary franchises in the world. In the U.S., 14 consecutive Pitt® novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Internationally, more than 120 million copies of Pitt's adventures have been published in more than 40 languages in over 100 countries. Cussler's publisher, G.P. Putnam & Sons, estimates his global readership at more than 120 million avid fans.

Acclaimed worldwide as "the Grandmaster of Adventure," Cussler lives a life that nearly parallels that of his beloved action hero, Dirk Pitt®. Like Pitt®, Cussler enjoys discovering and collecting things of historical significance. Through NUMA (the National Underwater & Marine Agency, a 501c3 non-profit founded in 1979) Cussler has had an amazing record of locating more than 60 shipwrecks of historical value. These include the long-lost Confederate submarine CSS Hunley and the recent discovery of LaSalle's ship L'Aimable, near Galveston, Texas. Cussler also has a renowned and extensive classic car collection, which features more than 85 examples of custom coachwork. Along with being Chairman of NUMA, he is also a fellow of the Explorers Club (which honored him with the Lowell Thomas Award for outstanding underwater exploration), the Royal Geographic Society and the American Society of Oceanographers.

"We have forged a unique relationship with Clive, and are committed to maintaining the strength and integrity of his original vision and the amazing adventures of the characters he's created," said Baldwin. "Clive's stories are loved around the world, and we're honored to have the opportunity to bring them to the big screen. We intend to make these movies true to his booksaction adventures that will appeal to everyone in the family."

"Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to have been approached by many companies looking to translate my books into movies," said Cussler. "It's a testament to the people at Crusader and their business philosophy that we will be working together on Sahara and other films. They are true collaborators and have the best interests of my readers and myself in mind, which is no small feat."

Earlier this year, Crusader entered into a three-year, first-look deal with Paramount Pictures, which will distribute the company's motion pictures in the U.S. Crusader is currently in production on two feature films shooting in ChicagoJoshua, based on the first novel of Joseph Girzone's successful series of books; and Children On Their Birthdays, based on the short story by Truman Capote. A third film is in pre-productionA Sound Of Thunder, based on Ray Bradbury's famous short story, produced with Franchise Pictures, which is set to begin production later this year with Pierce Brosnan starring and Renny Harlin directing. Crusader also recently acquired the life rights to the story of music legend Ray Charles, and will be portraying his gripping and uplifting rise to stardom in the feature film, Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story.

Based in Beverly Hills, Crusader Entertainment was formed in May 2000, in a move that joined the financial resources of one of the country's largest privately owned companies, the Denver-based Anschutz Corporation, with the Baldwins' expertise in entertainment and sports.