Miramax shifts its French connection

Mini-major, TF1 announce Gallic wedding

Miramax Intl. is teaming up with Gallic web TF1 to launch a joint theatrical distribution company in France.

The move heralds the arrival of a major new force in the French market.

TF1 previously sold its movies to a variety of local distribs, while Miramax had a long-standing output deal with Jean Labadie’s Bac Films.

It’s likely in the new joint venture that the overhead will be shared, but each partner separately pays the marketing costs of its own films, and takes its own profits.

For TF1, its move into direct distribution is expected to lead to an increased commitment both to French production, and to the acquisition of big international movies.

France is the second territory, after Australia, where Miramax has launched its own distribution arm. It may also be a springboard for co-chairman Harvey Weinstein’s long-stated ambition to produce French movies.

No one has yet been appointed to run the new joint venture.

The last Miramax film released in France was “Kate and Leopold” through Bac. “The Shipping News,” “Four Feathers” and “Spy Kids 2” are being routed via Buena Vista in France and “Shaolin Soccer” has already been sold to Metropolitan. But all subsequent Miramax movies, including “Full Frontal,” “Chicago” and “Kill Bill,” will go though the new joint venture.

Miramax still has a pay-TV output deal with Canal Plus.

The news will be announced at the Miramax distributors’ lunch May 17 in Cannes.