Lionsgate and Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa are expanding on their 2-year-old strategic partnership to jointly form a shingle.
Company dubbed Pantelion will officially launch at a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 14 , in New York. Lions-
gate chairman-CEO Jon Feltheimer and his Televisa counterpart Emilio Azcarraga Jr. will intro the company along with its incoming chairman, Jim McNamara, and CEO, Paul Presburger.
Shingle is slated to produce or acquire eight to 10 Latino-themed pics a year for the next five years in a bid to tap the audience of 26 million U.S. Hispanics who rep more than a quarter of all frequent moviegoers in the U.S.
Pics’ production budgets will remain lean in keeping with the longterm strategy of Lions-gate, which has released such genre hits as the “Saw” and “Tyler Perry” franchises as well as Sylvester Stallone’s box office phenom “The Expendables.”
Pact dovetails with each company’s ambition to gain a foothold in the other’s market and their burgeoning initiative to target Hispanic auds throughout North America.
While Televisa rules over the Mexican media landscape with its television, radio and publishing content, it has yet to succeed in the U.S. Hispanic theatrical market. Lionsgate has made only modest headway with its Spanish-language pics on either side of the Rio Grande.
In 2004, Televisa launched U.S. theatrical arm Televisa Cine, but it was shuttered after just three releases in two years.
McNamara, the former prexy-CEO of NBC Universal’s Telemundo and most recently Latino-targeted Panamax Films, has had a long-standing relationship with Lionsgate. Panamax and Lionsgate formed a joint venture in 2005, although results from their first two productions were middling at best. Comedy thriller “Ladron que roba a ladron” and steamy “La mujer de mi hermano” grossed $2.8 million and $5 million, respectively, in the U.S.
Panamax remained actively involved as a co-producer with Televisa and Lionsgate. The partners have produced and released low-budgeted pics in Mexico while Lionsgate released them straight to DVD in the U.S.
Lionsgate has North American distribution rights to nearly 400 pics in Televisa’s library, which includes classics by Luis Bunuel and pics starring Pedro Infante.
Pantelion signals a new long-term commitment to bring both companies’ considerable resources to bear on an underserved market.