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TF1 Studio Links Up With Paramount, Mars Distribution (EXCLUSIVE)

TF1 Studio, the vertically integrated film banner launched by France’s top commercial network, has signed distribution and marketing agreements with Paramount and Mars Distribution.

Under the agreements, Paramount and Mars will handle theatrical distribution of TF1 Studio movies, the company’s co-deputy CEO Tristan du Laz told Variety. Paramount will handle most English-language titles, such as Michael Apted’s “Unlocked” (pictured); Mars will roll out TF1 Studio’s French films and festival-friendly movies, such Remi Nobody’s Boy.”

TF1 Studio will also be collaborating with Mars on select projects which Mars is producing, notably as Julien Leclercq’s upcoming biopic “Prost.” TF1 Studio has come on board to rep the project in international markets and handle DVD/VOD rights.

TF1 Studio will cover P&A expenses while Mars and Paramount will handle theater booking and orchestrate the marketing strategy. “These partners are highly complementary, and we’ve been together for a while on an ad hoc basis,” said du Laz, who joined TF1 from Studiocanal and now works with fellow co-deputy CEO Nathalie Toulza-Madar.

TF1 Studio previously had a deal with UGC that covered French distribution. Since that agreement ended in October 2015, TF1 Studio has worked with third-party distributors on a case-by-case basis. The company briefly considered launching its own distribution arm but eventually decided to limit risk by farming out theatrical distribution and focusing on digital distribution instead.

Launched in May 2015, the group’s digital service, MyTF1VOD, has been thriving. It ranked as France’s most popular pay-per-view platform in 2016, ahead of Netflix, Orange and Canal Play, according to a study released by the French national film and TV board. Du Laz said the platform was still on top.

TF1 Studio releases about 20 films per year, two-thirds of which will be released theatrically, notably “Earth 2,” the $40-million sequel to Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield’s hit nature documentary, which follows the migration paths of four animal families. Paramount will release “Earth 2” in France for TF1 Studio.

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