CANNES: Haim Saban Forms North American Distribution Company

Media mogul Haim Saban is moving into movies with the launch of Saban Films, a week before the start of the Cannes Film Festival.

Saban Films plans to acquire eight to 10 feature films per year and distribute in North America via a major studio. The announcement said Saban is in talks with a distribution partner.

“I have a long-standing and deep affection for independent film and saw an opportunity in the theatrical distribution arena as well as an emerging distribution platform strategy that focuses on cable, satellite and telco VOD,” Saban said in a statement. “Film is a natural progression for Saban Capital Group with existing interests already in television, media and brands.”

Saban has named former RLJ Entertainment exec Bill Bromiley as president of Saban Films. Bromiley will begin working at Cannes by looking to acquire films in all stages of production from scripts to finished projects.

The company will release movies theatrically as well as across digital platforms with  a day-and-date release strategy.

Shanan Becker will serve as CFO, and Ness Saban will be director of business development.

“The film distribution business is ever-changing as the audiences’ choices of consuming entertainment expand every day,” Bromiley said. “There is still a need for smart, commercial product which is marketed and distributed properly. We have a low-risk, high-reward distribution business model which is attractive for filmmakers.”

Saban began working in the TV business in the 1980s and is best known for producing “Power Rangers.” He heads Saban Capital Group, formed in 2001 after he and News Corp. sold Fox Family Worldwide to the Walt Disney Co. for $5.3 billion.

Saban Capital’s current investments include Univision; Celestial Tiger Entertainment (a venture with Lionsgate and Astro); Taomee, a Chinese children’s online entertainment company; Indonesia’s MNC media company; Sky Vision, the Indonesian pay TV platform; and Partner Communications, a telecommunications company in Israel.

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