Exclusive Releasing to have access to Millennium's home ent systems

Continuing its push into distribution, Exclusive Media has acquired a minority stake in 2-year-old Millennium Entertainment for an undisclosed price.

Deal, announced Tuesday, comes three weeks after Exclusive Media launched a domestic releasing and acquisitions arm — dubbed Exclusive Releasing and headed by Scott Pascucci and Matt Brodlie — at the Toronto Film Festival as an entrant into the increasingly crowded distribution arena joined recently by A24.

The Exclusive Media-Millennium Entertainment pact provides key components: Exclusive Releasing will have access to Millennium’s home entertainment distribution systems; and Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee and his team will continue to manage and grow the business, working closely with Exclusive Releasing’s management group on selected Exclusive Media titles going through Millennium Entertainment, which is part of Nu Image Inc.

Deal was announced by Exclusive Media co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East and Millennium Entertainment and Nu Image Founders Avi Lerner and Trevor Short.

“Exclusive Media has excellent taste and is making some great films, so we’re excited by this arrangement and look forward to Exclusive Media bringing further impetus to the next stage of Millennium Entertainment’s growth,” Lerner and Short said.

Exclusive Releasing plans to theatrically distribute three or four wide and platform releases per year; it also plans to acquire films for accelerated-window and VOD release along with developing and acquiring “alternative content,” such as concert films and music documentaries.

“Acquiring a stake in Millennium is a key next step in building Exclusive Releasing,” said Marc Schipper, chief operating officer of Exclusive Media. “As we have gotten to know them, we have been very impressed by the professionalism and dedication that Bill Lee and his team display in managing their company. This new deal ensures that Exclusive Releasing is well positioned to take advantage of the shifts from physical to digital and from sell-thru to rental in the home entertainment market.”

Millennium Entertainment acquired two pics at Toronto — Julianne Moore-Alexander Skarsgard starrer “What Maisie Knew” and Josh Boone’s directorial debut “Writers,” starring Lily Collins, Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear and Kristen Bell — and will release “The Paperboy,” directed by Lee Daniels, on Oct. 5. Millennium’s “Bernie” is the distrib’s top performer with a $9.2 million domestic gross earlier this year.

For its part, Exclusive Media has been growing into a key destination for moderately priced projects: Ron Howard’s Formula One drama “Rush,” adult-skewing political drama “Ides of March,” the PG-13 chiller “The Woman in Black” and the upcoming “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” all with Cross Creek Pictures; David Ayer’s “End of Watch” with Emmett/Furla; thriller “Snitch” with Participant; John Carney’s comedy “Can a Song Save Your Life?”; and the Cameron Diaz action-laffer “Agent: Century 21.”

It’s also expanded its foreign sales operations recently. On Aug. 28, Scott Steindorff’s Scott Pictures and Exclusive Media launched a joint-venture international sales company, with Exclusive Media handling the international sales and servicing for all Scott Pictures features, starting with Natalie Portman actioner “Jane Got a Gun.”

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