Mutual, Becker pact for Oz-Kiwi distribution

SYDNEY — Australian producer-distribber Becker Entertainment today at last broke into distribution of big budget movies, clinching a longterm exclusive Oz-Kiwi access to the output of America’s Mutual Film Intl.

Becker’s film releasing banner, REP Distribution, will acquire at least four films a year from Mutual, some of which will be co-productions with such studios as Universal. The first pic REP expects to release is the John Travolta-Emma Thompson starrer “Primary Colors,” due for delivery by April.

Mutual is a consortium of Germany’s Tele-Munchen, the U.K.’s BBC, Japan’s Toho Towa/Marubani, France’s UCG and producing duo Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn (“Speed,” “12 Monkeys,” “The Relic” and Paramount’s upcoming “Hard Rain”).

“This is our first exclusive output deal, and it is certainly a step up for us in that for the first time we’ve secured access to big-budget releases,” Becker group general manager Ian Hogg told Daily Variety.

Traditionally, REP has been supplied by small indies and packages of pics from non-exclusive relationships with the likes of Miramax. Its most direct competitor appears to be Polygram, for whom it used to distrib until that company set up its own Oz office.

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