Lionsgate and Italy's Leone Film Group

ROME – Lionsgate has inked a long-term output deal with Italy’s Leone Film Group, the company originally founded by spaghetti western master Sergio Leone that is rapidly becoming a major Italo distributor, one year after its output deal with DreamWorks.

The multifaceted deal covers feature films from the Lionsgate and Summit labels.  Italy was one of the last remaining major territories not previously covered by an output arrangement for Lionsgate’s distribution structure. The deal, finalized at the Berlin film festival last month, includes Lionsgate’s exploration of worldwide promotional opportunities on a case-by-case basis with Leone’s Pacmedia promotional group. 

Now headed by Leone’s children, Andrea and Raffaella, Leone Films effectively acts as the Hollywood agent for pubcaster RAI’s 01 Distribuzione.

The group was floated late last year on the Milan stock market with a positive IPO geared toward becoming a bigger distributor of high-profile product. 

“We have closely followed Leone Film Group’s emergence as a major force in the Italian marketplace, and we’re delighted to establish a long-term partnership with them for the distribution of our feature films in Italy,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairmen Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman in a statement.  “Andrea, Raffaella and Gustavo have great and innovative marketing skills and have built a tremendous relationship with exhibitors and broadcasters alike.  We also look forward to working closely with their affiliated promotional company Pacmedia on selected worldwide promotional opportunities.”

Leone Film Group’s recent Italian releases include “Rush,” “The Fifth Estate,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Other titles in Leone’s Italo lineup include “Delivery Man,” Aaron Paul starrer “Need for Speed” and sci-fier “Transcendance,” toplining Johnny Depp, from Alcon Entertainment.

Leone’s heirs, who entered the Italo distribution arena in 2000, now have a 400-title library that includes all Italo rights to “Point Break,” “Traffic,” and Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” besides most of Leone’s works that they have bought back since his death in 1989.

On the production side Leone Films is among backers of Gabriele Muccino’s Russell Crowe starrer “Fathers and Daughters,” being produced by Craig J. Flores and Nicolas Chartier of Voltage and Sherryl Clark, with plans to start shooting soon in Pittsburgh.

LFG also distributes New Regency TV product in Italy.

Lionsgate’s global distribution infrastructure includes output agreements in major territories encompassing 80% of the world’s movie-going population outside China and India. This infrastructure includes the company’s self-distribution operations in the U.K., the 50/50 IDC joint venture serving Latin America, and distribution in China and Southeast Asia through its Celestial Tiger partnership.

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