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MONTREAL — Artisan Entertainment has inked an output deal for the U.K. with Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution giving Alliance Atlantis rights in the territory to all Artisan pics over the next three years.

The agreement covers all theatrical pics produced by Artisan, as well as titles acquired by the company. In addition, Alliance Atlantis will also garner U.K. rights to straight-to-video pics from Artisan Home Entertainment.

Upcoming Artisan productions that will be covered by the agreement include “Soul Survivors,” “Requiem for a Dream,” and “The Way of the Gun,” toplining Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, and James Caan. Alliance Atlantis will also snare the second installment of “The Blair Witch Project” for the U.K.

Beating the competition

Most of the top U.K distributors made efforts to make a deal with Artisan, according to reps from Artisan. One of the points working in Alliance Atlantis’s favor was the fact that the Canuck company already has an output deal with Artisan for Canada, which was signed last year.

“The durability and energy of the Artisan titles have changed the theatrical landscape here in the U.S. and abroad, and this deal with our friends at Alliance Atlantis will help import that excitement across the Atlantic to the U.K.,” said Amir Malin, president of Artisan Entertainment. “This agreement is another vital step in our continuing worldwide distribution strategy and our continued focus in branding Artisan internationally.”

Ambitious plans

The deal is a major move forward for Alliance Atlantis in the U.K., which has had to rely exclusively on pic-by-pic acquisitions up until now.

With Artisan on board, Alliance Atlantis will release approximately 24 pics theatrically each year in the U.K.

Patrice Theroux, president of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution, hinted that the company is set to sign another output deal for the U.K. in the near future. Alliance Atlantis has ambitious plans for the market now that German distrib Kinowelt has a 50% stake in the U.K. company.

“We want to establish a strong presence in the U.K. and a steady flow of product is key,” said Theroux. “With Artisan’s enviable track record and winning roster of yet-to-be-released films, we are confident that our relationship will be a rewarding and beneficial venture. In addition, this will greatly expand our profile and allow us to augment our release schedule with a very exciting mix of projects. It’s an outstanding agreement which is integral to the growth of our U.K. distribution activities.”

Artisan topper Malin, along with Patrick Wachsberger, Bob Hayward, and David Garrett of Artisan’s international sales partner Summit Entertainment, brokered the deal for Artisan, with Theroux, Victor Loewy, and Andrea Wood handling the negotiations for Alliance Atlantis.

Artisan already has distribution deals in place in Europe with Lauren Film in Spain and Highlight Communications in Germany.