ROME – Italy’s Leone Film Group, the company originally founded by spaghetti western master Sergio Leone, has inked a multimillion dollar three-year pay-TV deal with Murdoch-owned Sky for Italy, which marks a further sign of its rise to prominence in Italy’s film distribution arena.
Deal, which covers thirty-nine upcoming first-run feature films, will cover the July 2016-June 2019 period. The value is tied to the box office performance of the titles. No other financial details were disclosed.
The deal with Sky marks Leone Group’s key alliance with the country’s top pay-TV provider, a crucial component of the local distribution cycle.
“After our recent deals with RAI, Medusa, and Netflix, this deal with Sky Italia is ulterior confirmation of the excellent work Leone Film Group is doing,” boasted managing director Andrea Leone in a statement. “Our constant acquisition of quality product and our strengthened ties, through three-year deals, with the top broadcasters in the country, consolidates our position as a main partner for the top players in the international market,” he added.
In Italy’s theatrical arena Leone in December 2015 forged a strategic pact with local indie distributor Eagle Pictures that will see them co-release the next two instalments in Lionsgate’s “The Divergent Series” – “Allegiant” and “Ascendant” – and also Keanu Reeves-starrer “John Wick 2” and Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” toplining Andrew Garfield. Additionally going forward Eagle will be exclusively handling distribution on plenty of Leone’s new titles over the next three years.
Previously, Leone Film Group has historically had a close rapport with Italo pubcaster Rai’s Rai Cinema and its 01 Distribuzione unit, with which it will co-release Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “The Hateful Eight” in Italy on Feb. 4.
Leone’s heirs, who entered the Italo distribution arena in 2000, have output deals with Lionsgate and Dreamworks and close rapports with several U.S. indies, including The Weinstein Company. They 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 which they have bought back since his death in 1989.