Spanish film and TV conglom Sogecable has joined Canal Plus as an equity partner in Steven Reuther’s new Warner Bros.-based film company, Bel Air Entertainment.
The move marks the long-rumored entry of Sogecable into financing major North American pictures.
“We are participating for the first time as Sogecable in U.S. (film) production,” said Sogecable general manager Ele Juarez. “We’ll be very actively involved with Steve Reuther and Warner Bros.”
The 50% that Bel Air will contribute to each of the films that it makes will be split between Canal Plus, Sogecable and Italian pay TV service Telepiu (which is 90% owned by Canal Plus), according to Juarez, who declined to specify the exact stake in Bel Air of each partner.
WB will contribute the other 50%.
In return, Canal Plus retains all rights to the films in France and Germany. Sogecable will get Spanish pay TV rights and Telepiu Italian pay TV rights.
WB will handle distribution in the rest of the world.
Significantly, the three European partners will also get an equity stake in Bel Air’s projects.
Canal Plus owns 25% of Sogecable. However, under Juarez, the Spanish company has forged its own wide-ranging ties with WB, including joint ventures in theatrical distribution and exhibition. WB has a long-term output deal with Sogecable’s digital TV platform, CanalSatelite.
Juarez will have a seat on the Bel Air board.
Reuther sets up camp on the WB lot in July. Bel Air’s slate kicks off with the Kevin Costner starrer “Message in a Bottle,” produced by Costner’s Tig Prods. and Di Novi Pictures, and directed by Luis Mandoki (“When a Man Loves a Woman”).