Ealing, Prescience merge sales arms

Ealing Metro to draw on Ealing's pix, Prescience's coin

Ealing Studios and film financier Prescience have merged their sales divisions, Ealing Studios Intl. and Metropolis Intl. Sales, to create an international sales and distribution company dubbed Ealing Metro.

The joint venture will unveil its slate in the run-up to next month’s Cannes Film Festival.

Ealing Metro will have access to Prescience coin, including the Aegis Film Fund and the Metropolis Media EIS Fund. It will also work with independent producers to help develop and finance projects that it will sell alongside Ealing Studios’ films.

Will Machin, the topper at Ealing Studios Intl., will head the venture, reporting to Prescience managing director Tim Smith and Ealing Studios managing director James Spring, both joint CEOs of Ealing Metro. The sales team will be spearheaded by Natalie Brenner, former head of sales at Ealing Studios Intl., and James Scott, former head of sales at Metropolis.

Ealing Studios topper Barnaby Thompson and Paul Brett, Prescience director and head of production, will serve on Ealing Metro’s board with Spring and Smith.

“The big difference, in terms of the slate, will be that we from Ealing Studios will be representing more genre movies that we haven’t done in the past,” Machin told Variety. “The upcoming slate will see a lot more commercial thrillers. It’s going to be a balance of commercial product and crossover arthouse fare.”

Ealing Metro’s slate includes helmer Iain Softley’s “Trap for Cinderella”; biopic “Nina,” about singer Nina Simone, with Mary J. Blige toplining; and Jeremy Renner-Jennifer Garner comedy “Better Living Through Chemistry,” from helmer-scribe duo David Posamentier and Geoff Moore.

“These are challenging times, and although there is an upturn in the market, it’s a good time to consolidate because size does matter,” Brett said. “We are big enough to matter and small enough to care.”

Ealing and Prescience already have a close relationship. The financier backed five of the studio’s pics in as many years: “Easy Virtue,” “St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold,” “Dorian Gray,” “From Time to Time” and “Burke and Hare.”

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