, film lovers, for a blow has been struck in the name of good cinema. Universal Pictures’ Focus Features has signed a deal with the legendary Three Amigos – Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu – to be the home of their new production company, cha cha cha. That’s the name of the company, not an expression of my excitement.

The deal covers five pictures, with one each from the Amigos, one from Carlos Cuaron and one from Rodrigo Garcia. Carlos Cuaron’s film, Rudo y Cursi, which reunited Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, is in pre-production. The other four pictures are known to the participants in the deal but have not yet been announced.

The combined budget of the five films will be 100 million dollars, although I doubt it will be split evenly. Even so, these guys can do a lot with 20 million a piece (Pan’s Labyrinth cost less than 20 million American, believe it or not), and it will be exciting to see what they do under the auspices of what I consider to be the finest fake indie today.

In a joint statement, Alfonso Cuaron, del Toro and Inarritu said, "We are proud to be not only part of the world cinema community, but also students of it. Universal and Focus are affording us a safe haven to keep doing the work we love as well as nurture other filmmakers."

I can’t wait for more news about this excellent development. This is, to me, like if Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola had joined forces in 1975. Cuaron and Del Toro are two of the most exciting filmmakers working today, and if someone can just reign in Inarritu a little bit I’d say he was a complete genius – the guy definitely knows how to make movies.

At Oscar time the Three Amigos were tossing around the idea of the three of them working on a movie together – could that somehow end up flowering out of the end of this deal? It would be pretty great if, after making five movies with them, Focus wanted one more and to make it a team-up.