5-year venture to distribute pics to Latino audience

Universal Pictures has linked with the Arenas Group to create Arenas Entertainment, a U-based label that will acquire, produce and distribute pics tailored to Spanish-speaking auds worldwide.

U and Spanish venture capital firm Marco Polo Investments will hold an equity stake in the entity, which will distribute four or five films per year. All productions and acquisitions will be co-financed by U and Arenas Entertainment.

The deal is for five years, after which U can increase its financial stake in Arenas Entertainment.

Serving as CEO of the new venture is Santiago Pozo, founder-prexy of Arenas Group, an ad, P.R. and talent management firm specializing in the U.S. Latino market.

“Santiago and his team at the Arenas Group have played a key role in our marketing efforts to the U.S. Latino audience for many years,” U Pictures vice chairman Marc Shmuger said. “This new venture is evidence of our belief in Arenas as an organization and in the Latino audience as a growing and valuable moviegoing demographic in the coming years.”

Arenas Entertainment is touted as providing a home for the Latino filmmaking community and a showcase for Latino directors, writers and actors.

Universal has had a close working relationship with the Arenas Group since the company was formed 13 years ago, with Arenas consulting on many of the studio’s releases.

While this new label marks Arenas’ first foray into the areas of production, acquisition and distribution, Arenas will continue to handle the marketing of U’s films to Hispanic audiences.

“As the first major Latino-focused film label, Arenas Entertainment opens the doors of an industry where, for too long, Latinos have stood on the sidelines,” Pozo said.

Marco Polo Investments CEO Jorge Galera said, “Arenas’ deep roots and expertise in Latino marketing, combined with Universal’s positioning and Marco Polo’s leadership in Spain, creates a powerful player in Latino filmmaking.”

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