Roadshow Films has bought a 33% stake in independent production-sales banner FilmNation, enabling expansion of the FilmNation development and production slate.
Six-year-old FilmNation focuses on platform releases with the potential to go wide in the $12-$30 million budget range such as “Mud,” “A Most Wanted Man” and “The Imitation Game.”
In a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange, Roadshow Films parent Village Roadshow Limited said that the $18 million investment would give it ownership of a third of FilmNation.
The first two movies scheduled to begin production next year under the new financing structure are “The Founder” with John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”) directing a biopic of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc; and “The Good House,” starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro and based on Ann Leary’s book.
FilmNation will also begin production in May of “Story Of Your Life,” starring Amy Adams with Denis Villeneuve directing.
Current FilmNation partners will retain ownership positions under the new financial structure.
“Partnering with such a successful and well respected company as Roadshow Films is a significant next step for us,” said FilmNation CEO Glen Basner and Chief Operating Officer Milan Popelka.
“Roadshow’s proven track record speaks for itself and we are proud to have such an experienced company invest with us” the duo added. “Together as partners alongside our original co-founding partners Steven B. Samuels, Anthoni Visconsi II, and Dominic Visconsi Jr. who continue to demonstrate their confidence in the company, we’re certain FilmNation can achieve our goals of successfully expanding our investments in feature film content creation while continuing to grow our worldwide platform.”
Roadshow Films is a subsidiary of Australian media conglomerate Village Roadshow. Roadshow Films execs Joel Pearlman and Chris Chard said the deal will allow them to expand production outside of the Australian market.
The deal also ensures that FilmNation’s slate of movies will be handled in Australia and New Zealand by Roadshow Films.
Village says that it will make the payment from its own financial resources and that the transaction will provide profit growth from 2016 when the films that FilmNation is currently developing are released.
Securing high quality content for Australia has recently become a scramble as numerous online video start-ups have emerged and Netflix has announced its plans to begin operations Down Under from March next year.
The deal may also help underpin Village’s expansion in China, where it already has a production unit with Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia. FilmNation has handled China-set “Looper” and Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War.” It is now in development on the adaptation of graphic novel ‘The Undertaking of Lily Chen’ as a Chinese movie.