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Overture pacts with Vantage

Company inks global distrib deal

Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett’s fledgling Overture Films has inked a global distrib deal with Paramount Vantage and Paramount Pictures Intl.

Under the exclusive pact, Overture will utilize Vantage’s newly launched international sales arm. It will be able to distrib its pics overseas directly through Par Intl.

The deal essentially completes Overture’s distribution apparatus and should enhance the portfolio of pics Paramount brings to the international market.

“I see it as a win-win partnership,” McGurk said Friday, emphasizing that it gives his company flexibility in terms of how its movies get in front of eyeballs abroad. “It gives us the ability to do the right thing for each of our pictures.”

In other words, they can either take advantage of Par’s studio distribution pipeline apparatus through Paramount Intl. under former UIP veteran Andrew Cripps, or tap the expertise of Par Vantage’s indie sales force.

McGurk also said filmmakers are more inclined to bring their projects to a company that has a strong worldwide distribution system in place.

It’s unclear how many pictures Overture, which is in start-up mode, will initially bring to the party, and precisely what international rights will be available on each pic. Overture has already produced or picked up three films — and is combing the Croisette for possible acquisitions.

Joint announcement of the new arrangement was made late Thursday night in Cannes.

“Our goal has been to aggressively expand our international operations. A partner like Overture helps us to grow our business at a faster rate with terrific product,” Par Vantage co-prexy Nick Meyer said.

On the marketing front, Overture worldwide marketing and distribution chieftain Peter Adee will coordinate with Par Intl. and Par Vantage sales teams as to how to tailor more customized campaigns for its movies abroad. Adee may appoint someone to handle international marketing on behalf of Overture.

As for the combination of Par Vantage and Overture’s slate, the differences, the two partners said, should be a positive for both sides.

Par Vantage, which itself is just a year old, is so far handling a number of rather high-toned, upscale pics, including “The Kite Runner” and “A Mighty Heart,” which unspools here. Overture plans a broad mix with some more commercial titles. Budget range will remain in the $30 million area.

Overture chief operating officer Rosett said the deal is the final piece in Overture’s worldwide distribution strategy.

Par Intl. topper Cripps and Adee, who have known each other for many years, said they looked forward to collaborating on international releases.

Along with Paramount, Universal Pictures Intl. was in the running as a possible overseas distribution partner for Overture.

Announcement comes six months after the official launch of Overture with a business strategy calling for an annual slate of eight to 12 features. Operation has the advantage of being able to tap into the resources of parents companies Starz and Liberty Media. It began ramping up distribution operations in February.

Overture made its first acquisition early this year by picking up domestic rights to “Ferris Wheel,” with Charlize Theron, and last month won the bidding for Diane Keaton-Queen Latifah caper film “Mad Money.”

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