Gaumont, Montebello Productions Strike First-Look Deal

PARIS– Gaumont et Montebello Productions, the banner of former Pathe U.K. topper François Ivernel, have signed a development and production agreement. The three-year pact will cover both film and TV production.

Ivernel, a vet producer and distributor whose credits include Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” said Gaumont combined “stability and dynamism.” “Gaumont has been very successful with production and distribution of French films and international TV series. The company’s ambition to pursue its expansion into English-language movies as well as European TV series makes it an ideal partner for Montebello,” explained Ivernel.

“Many promising projects are in development for movies and series,” said Gaumont CEO Sidonie Dumas.

The alliance between the two companies suggests Gaumont’s willingness to venture again into English-language film productions with a well-rounded partner. The French studio had been focusing on local pics after delivering a string of English-language movies, notably Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet,” which did not match commercial expectations.

Although the pact covers development and production, it also gives Gaumont a first-look option to distribute in France and sell abroad any Montebello project.

Launched in 2013 with offices in Paris and London, Montebello’s slate also includes French feature films as well as English-language series for the European market.

Before creating Montebello Productions, François Ivernel ran Cinémas Gaumont Pathé and spearheaded production and distribution at Pathe U.K.. While at Pathe, Ivernel exec produced “The Girl With The Pearl Earing, “The Queen,” “The Iron Lady,” “Mandela” and “Philomena, on top of “Slumdog Millionaire.”

In total, Ivernel, has snatched up 12 Oscars (including 8 for “Slumdog Millionaire”) and one Palme d’Or.

One of Europe’s top movie studio, the 120-year old Gaumont striked box office gold with “Intouchables,” the highest-grossing French-language film of all time which earned a Golden Globe nomination. Gaumont also boasts France’s second-ranking film library holding over 1100 titles.

Gaumont is also thriving in television, particularly in the U.S. where its L.A.-based division has so far produced three seasons of “Hannibal” for NBC, three seasons of “Hemlock Grove” for Netflix, and most recently the critically-acclaimed “Narcos” for Netflix.

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