Euro studio posts $52 million in AFM sales

PARIS

Building for even more growth, Euro film-TV group Studiocanal has extended its slate financing deal with London-based Anton Capital Entertainment through the beginning of 2016.

The pioneering three-year deal was due to lapse in August 2014. ACE will continue to take 30% stakes in movies produced or released theatrically by Studiocanal, which runs distribution operations in the U.K., France, Germany and, beginning this year, Australia and New Zealand.

ACE’s original three-year commitment was valued at ?150 million ($194.4 million).

Teaming with production partners such as Working Title and Joel Silver, Studiocanal will aim to finance two-to-three films in the $40 million-$50 million range in a core annual lineup of some 10 international productions, said Studiocanal chairman-CEO Oliver Courson.

Studiocanal’s total film financing will top $260 million in 2013, with most of the money spent on international productions, Courson said.

The Studiocanal-ACE reup comes just weeks after the American Film Market, where Studiocanal punched $54 million in international sales off 150 deals and still counting — a record for its fast-growing international sales operation.

Reuniting Studiocanal with “Unknown” producer Joel Silver, helmer Jaume Collet-Serra and star Liam Neeson, air-flight action thriller “Non Stop” sold out almost worldwide, save for one major territory, off a script and promo. Universal will distribute in the U.S.

Also at the AFM, CBS Films acquired U.S. rights on “The Last Exorcism 2,” which will be released March 1.

Ben Stassen’s provisionally entitled 3D animated film “Thunder and the Enchanted House” sold strongly, especially in Asia, Courson said.

Scandinavia and Spain were closed with Universal on Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January,” now in production.

Japan’s Phantom acquired Michel Gondry’s “Mood Indigo,” among 20 territory sales, including Canada, Spain and Korea.

Studiocanal will post double-digit profits in 2012, with revenues heading toward $650 million, Courson said.

“Studiocanal has an excellent mix of international sales, which allow for a sense of properties’ market value, and very good upside from straight distribution in Europe and now Australia and New Zealand, which are not very far below France or Germany in market value and very efficient in terms of P&A,” said Anton Capital managing director Sebastien Raybaud.

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