Pic pact includes 'Malavita'

PARIS — Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has inked an exclusive three-year output deal with China’s Fundamental Films, one of the country’s leading distributors.

Mark Gao’s Fundamental will theatrically release at least 15 EuropaCorp films and co-produce three of those. EuropaCorp will sell three Chinese productions and have the option to distribute them in Gaul.

“The Chinese public has shown its taste for EuropaCorp films in the past, and the success of ‘Transporter 3′ and ‘Adele: Rise of the Mummy’ in China is heartwarming,” said Besson.

EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert added, “This agreement is highly strategic for EuropaCorp because it ensures that the studio will have a strong position in China, allowing it to benefit from the extraordinary growth in this market.”

Besson’s gangster thriller “Malavita,” starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, will be the first pic to be released by Fundamental.

Last year, Fundamental released U.S. movies including Bradley Cooper starrer “Limitless,” “Killer Elite,” with Jason Statham, and Liam Neeson starrer “The Grey.”

“Malavita” begins filming in early August at Besson’s Cite du Cinema, the mega-studio on the outskirts of Paris.

“EuropaCorp has produced a large number of top-tier films well known in China,” said Gao, Fundamental’s chairman.

Besson’s company has output deals in Germany with Universum and in Scandinavia with Scanbox. It signed a co-production and co-financing pact with Relativity Media on two movies, which includes U.S. distribution. It also has an output agreement covering the Persian Gulf territories.

Rolling off two years of losses, the Paris-based outfit outperformed analysts’ expectations when it recently announced a €100,000 ($124,600) net profit for the financial year ended March 31. Headed by Marie-Laure Montironi, international sales have been a major strength for the company, skyrocketing 112% to $92.2 million during the financial year.

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