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Entertainment One is to see all its theatrical film distribution operations in Australia and New Zealand handled in the future by Universal Pictures International. The new arrangement comes into effect from April.

UPI is already handling eOne collaborations with Amblin Partners and Participant Media, including Golden Globe winner “Green Book” and “On The Basis of Sex.” The two companies also already jointly handle global distribution of films produced by Brad Weston’s Makeready, with “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas, in the pipeline.

The new arrangement will cover marketing and distribution of all films from eOne and its partners: Sierra/Affinity, Amblin, DreamWorks Studios, Participant, and Reliance Entertainment. It also covers eOne acquired titles including Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light,” “Judy,” and Australian pictures “Top End Wedding” and “Babyteeth.”

Australian theatrical box office hit record levels in 2015 and 2016, but dipped by 5% in 2017 to US$857 million (A$1.2 billion). The distribution scene is dominated by Hollywood titles and represents a particularly harsh environment for local and independent releases – though local media predict that Australian films will show their third-highest aggregate box office in 2018 when year-end figures are published later this month. Further consolidation in the distribution sector is expected this year with Disney’s takeover of 20th Century Fox assets.

“EOne’s slate of high-quality, commercial films add[s] a valuable new dimension to our business in Australia and New Zealand,” said Duncan Clark, UPI’s president of distribution. We have had a successful working relationship with the eOne teams around the world over the years. We are delighted to represent them in this key territory.”

“We continue to focus our efforts on sourcing and producing the highest-quality films for distribution around the world,” added Steve Bertram, eOne’s president of film and television. “We are confident that this new partnership will enhance the potential of all the films we bring to market in Australia and New Zealand,”

The upcoming slate includes eOne-produced films “Wild Rose,” directed by Tom Harper; “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” produced by Guillermo Del Toro and directed by Andre Ovredal; Annapurna-produced “Booksmart,” directed by Olivia Wilde; “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”, directed by Richard Linklater, starring Cate Blanchett; and Amblin-produced “A Dog’s Journey,” starring Dennis Quaid.