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Goldwyn, CH. 4 Team

The Samuel Goldwyn Co. and Channel 4 have moved a step closer to setting up a joint distribution company in the U.K., with a one-time deal to co-release Nicholas Hytner’s “The Madness of King George.”

Goldwyn and C4, which co-produced the film, will plan and manage the release themselves, with Rank Film Distributors providing the back-room services. “King George” is due to open March 24 in the U.K.

Colin Leventhal, managing director of Channel 4 Intl., confirmed that this trial arrangement “may be a precursor” to creating a venture with Goldwyn to handle the U.K. release of all the two companies’ films.

Upcoming C4 titles that could go through such a partnership include “The Run of the Country” (co-produced with Castle Rock), “Blue Juice,” “Frankie Starlight,” “The Disappearance of Finbar Flynn” and the Peter Greenaway pic “Pillow Book.” Goldwyn’s “The Perez Family” is also available.

Both C4 and Goldwyn have long been looking for a way to get greater control over the distribution of their films in the U.K., and saw “King George” as the perfect opportunity to dip their toes in the water.

“We were encouraged by the critical reaction to the film in the United States, and decided that this would be a good film to release ourselves,” Leventhal explained. Three British distribs had already offered the asking price of $900,000 for U.K. rights when C4 and Goldwyn decided to take it off the market.

“The Madness of King George,” with Nigel Hawthorne reprising the role that won him numerous awards, opened Dec. 28 in New York and Los Angeles, and grossed more than $100,000 on two screens in its first week.

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