Universal pacts with De Laurentiis in Italy

Filmauro deal to last three years

ROME — Universal Pictures Intl. has signed a three-year deal to distrib content either produced or purchased by Aurelio De LaurentiisFilmauro banner in Italy.

Outsourcing distribution allows Filmauro to step up productions and acquisitions. It’s known for a slate of high-profile international indie titles, such as upcoming Steve Jobs biopic “Jobs: Get Inspired,” and for its lucrative local Christmas comedies.

Deal will kick off with Christmas laffer “Colpi di Fulmine,” helmed by Neri Parenti and toplining Christian De Sica.

Unveiling the pact at an Italo exhib confab, De Laurentiis announced plans for a 20-pic slate over the next two years, roughly double his current average output.

De Laurentiis consistently scores the country’s best annual average box office grosses with a handful of titles.

His move comes as top local film company Medusa is scaling back operations in the wake of cost-cutting by parent company Mediaset.

Universal, praised by De Laurentiis as “one of the most globally-minded of the Hollywood studios,” also owns a minority stake in Italo production shingle Cattleya and releases some of its titles locally.

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