Yari, Sony pact on homevid, pay TV

Deal includes 'Sophomore,' 'Real Men Cry'

The Yari Film Group has inked a two-year, multipicture pact with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group that covers domestic homevid and pay-per-view TV distribution rights for films produced and distributed by Yari.

Under the deal, Yari’s slate — likely four to six films per year — will be released on DVD through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Yari’s prior deal with Fox, which did not include a pay TV component, expired in June.

“This was a way for us to have a quasi-pay TV deal,” YFG prexy Bob Yari said. “It’s not as rich as a studio deal, but it gives us a much better position going in so we’re not left with a finished film and then going out there trying to sell the pay TV rights.”

The first films covered by the deal include YFG’s “The Sophomore,” starring Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton and Reece Thompson; “Nothing but the Truth,” which begins shooting next month and stars Kate Beckinsale and Matt Dillon; “Real Men Cry,” starring Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo; and “The Lonely Maiden,” with Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken and William H. Macy. Since launching five years ago, YFG has produced more than 30 films, including the 2005 best picture Oscar winner “Crash.”

“It’s really important for us to continue to get fresh product, especially to get new and interesting theatrical product,” Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group prexy Peter Schlessel said. “If they can deliver a ‘Crash’ or an ‘Illusionist’ or things like that, then great. It’s the most simple, strategic deal that I could have thought to make.”

The deal, which marks the first major partnership for the Sony division since Schlessel took the reins last year, also paves the way for Yari and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group to co-finance individual projects and to team up to buy completed titles.

“The deal is attractive because it gives us full access to their DVD and TV operations and also the ability to partner with them on individual films,” Yari said.

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