Participant Media has inked a multipic distribution deal with Summit Entertainment that runs through 2013. Pact covers titles financed by the $250 million film fund set up by Participant and Abu Dhabi-based Imagenation Media (Daily Variety, Sept. 11).
Under the nonexclusive deal, Summit could release as many as four Participant films a year. Summit has the option of co-financing select titles. It will take a distribution fee on all films.
The Summit-Participant pact, covering home entertainment and pay TV distribution as well, is important for both companies.
Until now, Participant — which focuses on socially minded projects — has financed films on a one-off basis with various partners, such as “The Visitor” (Overture Films), “Syriana” (Warner Bros.) and “An Inconvenient Truth” (Paramount Vantage).
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“Now, we no longer have to peddle our films, because we have full financing and guaranteed distribution. We can go from development to release and control the process. That’s huge for a company like ours,” Participant CEO Jim Berk said.
Berk said that 18 to 25 films will be financed through the Imegenation Fund over the next six years, and Participant has 30 projects in development.
Output deal is only the second inked by Summit since becoming a full-service studio.
“It’s always good to have relationships that provide you with additional content. It is a revenue generator,” said Summit co-chair Rob Friedman, who made the announcement with co-chair Patrick Wachsberger
Summit scored one of the biggest box office coups in 2008 with the release of teen vampire pic “Twilight,” the first in a series of films based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series.
Output deal with Summit does not preclude Participant — founded by former eBay honcho Jeff Skoll — from working with other studios.
Berk also disclosed that Participant is among the original group of investors backing Summit Entertainment.