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Lions Gate buys Filmax fright

Spanish co. committed to English-lingo splatter matter

Lions Gate Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to four horror pics from Spain’s Filmax Group: Jack Sholder’s “Arachnid”; “Dagon,” from Stuart Gordon; and two titles from Brian Yuzna, “Faust” and “Beyond Re-Animator.”

Underscoring the worldwide demand for genre chiller pics, the quartet of pickups further vindicates Filmax’s bold leap into English-lingo splatter matter last year when it created a horror pic franchise, the Fantastic Factory.

At the London Screenings last week, Dimension Films picked up two other pieces of Filmax scare fare, Jaume Balaguero’s psychological thrillers “Darkness,” an upcoming English-lingo pic, and his acclaimed 1999 film “The Nameless,” shot in Spanish.

Tapping int’l market

Barcelona-based Filmax’s tentacles reach into animation and TV production, all-rights pic distribution and exhibition. Filmax entered pic production in 1995, aiming always to tap the international market.

Directed by Filmax chairman Julio Fernandez and Yuzna (“The Progeny,” “Return of the Living Dead III”), the Fantastic Factory meshes seasoned U.S. genre directors and technicians with Spanish technical backup and mostly U.S. thesps.

The franchise is also developing pics by young Spanish helmers, led by Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s upcoming medieval comicbook epic “Captain Thunder.”

Filmax’s films reimagine classic genre pic plots. In “Arachnid,” for example, an alien spider picnics on inhabitants of a not very Pacific isle, while “Faust” is set in a futuristic world.

Part of franchise

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to distribute these films and become part of the classic ‘Re-Animator’ franchise,” said Peter Block, Lions Gate’s president of home entertainment/acquisitions.

“As a distributor of many Lions Gate films, I now feel very enthusiastic about this company releasing my productions in the U.S. and Canada,” Fernandez said. “I believe there will be more to come.”

The Mifed-announced deal was negotiated on behalf of Lions Gate by Block and acquisitions VP Guy Stodel. Negotiating on behalf of Filmax were president Carlos Fernandez, sales senior VP Antonia Nava and legal affairs executive Eduardo Escudero.

(Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report.)

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