Canuck deal in Motion for D’Works

MONTREAL — Motion Intl. of Montreal has inked a long-term output deal with DreamWorks Pictures to handle all of the new studio’s pics in Quebec in both English and French.

The deal, concluded late last week, is expected to be announced by the two companies this week.

The first title under the multi-pic agreement will be the George Clooney/Nicole Kidman actioner “The Peacemaker,” due in theaters across North America this Friday. Motion will also handle Quebec distribution on DreamWorks’ two other 1997 releases, the Steven Spielberg-directed “Amistad” and “Mouse Hunt,” both due out during the holiday season.

Motion Intl. president Stephen Greenberg would not reveal financial details of the pact and would not specify the length of the output deal.

Close to home

Under Quebec law, non-Canadian distribs are not allowed to directly distribute in the Canadian province and must funnel their films through local distribs. (The only distribs exempt from the Quebec regulations are the original Hollywood studios.)

The hook-up with DreamWorks is a key step forward for Motion Intl., which has not been a major presence in the Canadian feature film scene. Motion, formerly known as Coscient Astral Distribution, was formed when Coscient Group of Montreal purchased the distribution and program development divisions of Astral Communications and integrated them with Allegro Films Distribution late last year.

Expanding the relationship

The DreamWorks deal “is a very strong indication of our intention to increase our business,” said Greenberg. “Obviously all of the (DreamWorks films) will be pretty high-profile pictures. It increases the importance of everything else we do and we’re hopeful we can expand the relationship.”

Motion will be upping its presence in the feature field even further in the coming months, added Greenberg, who said the Montreal-based distrib is in negotiations with one or more U.S. indie outfit to handle their product in Canada.

The distrib is also poised to launch its highest-profile Canadian-made pic ever with the release across Canada Oct. 3 of “The Assignment,” a thriller about an international terrorist top-lining Aidan Quinn, Ben Kingsley and Donald Sutherland. Triumph Films is releasing the pic in the U.S.

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