Bell Canada, Cirque du Soleil Partner Partner on Film and TV Production

 Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

TORONTO – Bell Canada has joined the circus to secure Canadian regulatory approval for its CAN$3.38 billion ($3.43 billion) takeover of Astral Media.

The Canadian phone giant is taking cameras and directors under the Big Top with Cirque du Soleil to create a Montreal-based joint venture to make film, TV, digital and gaming content for worldwide distribution.

As Cirque du Soleil readies filmmaker Andrew Adamson' 3D spectacle Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away for release by Paramount Pictures in December, the Quebec circus troupe will lend its creative to the phone giant’s Bell Media division, which proposes to bring Astral Media and its radio, TV and outdoor advertising assets into its fold.

The move comes as Bell Canada faces industry opposition to its Astral Media takeover, and launches a charm offensive in Quebec that includes $80 million in proposed French language content production investment to indicate public benefits for its deal.

The Cirque will contribute its library of existing content and current projects to the partnership, including the 3D feature film for Paramount.

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away features performances from Cirque productions and an original story from Adamson, who is producing the movie with Aron Warner and Cirquel's Martin Bolduc, Ed Jones and Cary Granat.

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