Carlton int’l distrib’n arm to be shuttered

LONDON — Carlton Communications is shutting down the international operations of its distrib arm, Carlton Film Distributors, and will likely also end its U.K. distribution by the end of the year.

Sales, distribution and marketing for CFD’s current slate of pics will be assumed by Village Intermedia Pictures — the joint venture between film finance and distrib company Intermedia and Aussie distrib Village Roadshow Pictures.

Carlton’s distrib joint venture with Castle Rock/Turner expires Dec. 31. The company’s slate includes “Lawn Dogs,” “Gold on the Streets,” “Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag,” “Best Men” and “Up On the Roof.”

Last April, Carlton acquired its distrib arm, previously Rank Film Distribution, from the Rank Group for $48 million. Carlton has a film library of over 1,500 films, 700 of which it acquired from Rank. The company stated from the beginning that the reason for the acquisition was to combine the libraries.

Carlton’s library includes 9,000 hours of TV programming.

New face of Brit TV

A Carlton spokesman said the company is in discussions with other British distribs that may be interested in acquiring its distrib infrastructure, and that distribution had only been a small part of the Rank acquisition. RFD, however, was also active in financing film.

He added that Carlton is talking to the Film Consortium — one of the three lottery franchise winners, which had a distrib deal with CFD through RFD — about how the changes will affect them.

Carlton and Intermedia have also initiated a joint-venture development fund for what they describe as big-budget British films. Intermedia has considerable international expertise in indie film structuring and funding, having collaborated with Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Enterprises, Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free, Dark Horse Entertainment, Camera One, Tig Prods., West Eleven Films and Renaissance Films.

Splitting pricetag

The six-figure fund will be financed equally between the companies and is available immediately. Projects arising from the fund will be in the $15 million-$20 million range, considerably more than the budget of a typical Brit pic. Source of the financing will depend on the project. Carlton has in the past not been keen on investing its own money.

Initial projects should be announced in the “very near future,” Intermedia co-chairman Guy East told Daily Variety. He added that the partnership “is the beginning of a very important relationship with one of the biggest British television companies.”

June de Moller, Carlton’s managing director, said: “This marks a new stage in the development of our film interests. We are already the leading international distributor of classic British films. Through our partnership with Intermedia we can expand our film production, invest in new films and add to our library.”