Multi-pic backing in exchange for music service aid

The Cutting Edge Group has closed a multi-picture slate deal with Endgame Entertainment, under which CEG will invest in Endgame films in return for music publishing rights and helping service music needs for the slate.

Deal was announced Wednesday at Cannes.

First title covered by the pact is the Steven Soderbergh-directed “The Bitter Pill,” starring Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film will be released domestically by Open Road Films early next year.

The 4-year-old CEG also entered into an agreement last month with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures to provide music consulting services for Annapurna’s upcoming films.

Prior to the slate deal, CEG had invested in Endgame’s “Looper,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis and due to be released domestically by Film District in September.

“We think the slate deal shows the trust we have in each other,” said Phillip Moross, CEO of CEG. Endgame topper James Stern said CEG execs are “pioneers in the industry.”

The London-based company has invested in 175 films — most notably “The King’s Speech” — with the money devoted to scoring, clearances and music supervision, then recoups from such sources as soundtrack and sheet music sales, licensing and royalties from international ticket sales and TV deals.

It recently expanded its model into television with an investment in NBC’s “The Firm ” and is also providing music for the advertising world.

In 2008, Cutting Edge received an initial investment of $15 million from investor Aberdeen Asset Management; it set up its first multipicture deal with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle in 2009.

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