Pantelion kicks off with ‘Prada’

New venture plans eight to 10 pics per year

Lionsgate/Televisa’s new joint venture Pantelion, first reported by Variety on Sept. 8, plans eight to 10 pics per year starting with “From Prada to Nada,” a Camilla Belle/Wilmer Valderrama romantic comedy based on “Sense and Sensibility” that unspools Jan. 28.

The new shingle/distributor was officially unveiled Tuesday by Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer, Grupo Televisa head Emilio Azcarraga, and Pantelion CEO Paul Presburger. Also taking questions at the Gotham unveiling were Pantelion chairman Jim McNamara (formerly of Telemundo) and AMC Theaters’ head Gerardo Lopez, who pledged his support to the venture.

“If they have a movie, we have a screen,” Lopez said during the conference.

Lopez noted the high percentage of Latino moviegoers patronizing AMC theaters, citing a figure of 25% of all customers. He also pointed out that 52 of his theaters are in areas with Latino populations greater than 33%.

Pantelion will also acquire and distribute Spanish-language pics that it believes will appeal to U.S. Hispanics, but don’t look for the next Amenabar movie to come from the distrib. “We’re not here to win awards,” Feltheimer explained, pointing to Lionsgate’s successful “Saw” franchise as one potential business model for the shingle. Feltheimer said the Jan. 28 release date was in part chosen because the studio would be able to promote more of its films by that time. “We want to be able to trailer new product, too,” he said. “We want to have consistency.”

Feltheimer said that the Televisa deal augured well for Lionsgate despite its disputes with Carl Icahn. “What this venture shows is that despite the distraction, we’re moving forward,” he said.