BERLIN — Hot German film distrib Kinowelt is in final negotiations to acquire Jugend Film, the country’s oldest distribution company. A deal is expected to be closed within the next few days.
Kinowelt’s acquisition of Jugend Film would mark the fourth local distrib in which Kinowelt has taken a stake in recent months.
Kinowelt also set up a new distribution label, Arthaus, last year.
It is understood that under Kinowelt’s ownership, Jugend Film may go back to its roots and concentrate on distributing youth-oriented films.
Kinowelt is considering using the Jugend Film label to release German pics, which would complement Kinowelt’s recently established local production arm.
Jugend Film had been looking for a new partner for some time, having signed a distribution cooperation agreement with Twentieth Century Fox late last year after negotiations to merge with rival distribution arm Nil, now known as Helkon, came to naught.
Kinowelt recently acquired a 100% stake in specialty distribution house Pandora, a 25% stake in the former East German sales and distribution house Progress and a 75% stake in producer-distributor Arsenal. Latter is set to release pics such as Tim Roth’s “The War Zone” and Sundance docu hit “Genghis Blues.”
The company’s core label, Kinowelt, distributes more mainstream titles such as “Rush Hour,” “She’s All That” and “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”
While Pandora has been merged into Arthaus, Arsenal continues to operate as a separate entity but has benefited from its wealthy parent company’s deep pockets at recent markets.
Through the stake in Progress, Kinowelt is aiming to expand into the distribution and production sectors in the former Eastern Bloc.