WB to release pix in territory

Sony Pictures Releasing is bowing out of Italian distribution, having formed a strategic distribution deal with Warner Bros. Intl., which will release its pics in the country beginning July1.

The decision, which had been rumored for a while, reflects Sony’s steadily sagging Italo market share. It stands at just 1.4%, making it the 11th-ranked distrib — below local specialty company BIM Distribuzione.

Warner Bros. is Italy’s third distributor, with an 8.7% market share.

The agreement was announced on Wednesday by Rory Bruer, prexy of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures Releasing, and Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, prexy of Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. Distribution.

Warner Bros. and Sony already have similar long-standing arrangements in Portugal and Turkey.

The new distribution structure will result in substantial savings for Sony, which will close its Rome office.

“We believe this decision is the smartest and most efficient way to continue serving theaters and audiences in Italy,” Bruer said.

Sony pics that recently under-performed in Italy include James L. Brooks’ romantic comedy “How Do You Know,” starring Reese Witherspoon; George Tillman Jr.’s actioner “Faster,” starring Dwayne Johnson; and Dennis Dugan’s “Just Go With It,” starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman.

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