SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — Artisan Entertainment has signed an output deal with Spain’s No. 1 indie distrib, Lauren Films.
Under the three-year deal, the Barcelona-based Lauren Films will handle up to 10 films a year from the U.S. indie producer-distributor, selected from Artisan productions and pickups. A fourth option year will be at Artisan’s discretion, according to Lauren owner Antonio Llorens.
Specific titles under the arrangement will be announced in October, Llorens told Daily Variety at the San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival. They likely will include Christopher McQuarrie’s “Way of the Gun,” starring James Caan, Benicio Del Toro, Taye Diggs, Juliette Lewis and Ryan Philippe.
Artisan prexy Amir Malin said he expects “Gun,” which just wrapped principal photography in Utah, to be ready in time for a world preem at next year’s Cannes.
“Given the success of Artisan domestically, we have proven to distributors worldwide that we can produce and distribute movies worldwide,” Malin said. The Lauren deal “came about very quickly,” he commented, adding that he expects Artisan to conclude three similar output deals in time for Mifed.
The Lauren partnership reps a further building block in Artisan’s growing international distribution network. At the Cannes Film Fest in May, Artisan inked a muscular output deal with Germany’s Highlight Communications for German-speaking territories under which Highlight has committed to releasing up to 34 features over the next three years.
“A really top Spanish distributor needs accords with two important movie suppliers, to complement different styles of films,” said Llorens. Lauren is Miramax Intl.’s preferential distributor for Spain.
Tying up foreign distributors in long-term, multipic deals would be another step in Artisan Entertainment’s rapid growth since it was the subject, in its Live Entertainment incarnation, of a $150 million buyout in 1997 orchestrated by Boston-based investment company Bain Capital.
Under Malin, who came on board in July 1997, Artisan has positioned itself as the producer of cutting-edge, youth-oriented pics budgeted up to $30 million, and more upscale fare such as Stephen Soderbergh’s “The Limey” and Roman Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate.” The outfit has also presided over the runaway hit “The Blair Witch Project,” which it picked up at this year’s Sundance fest for $1.1 million.
(Christian Moerk in Los Angeles and John Adair in London contributed to this report.)