Cannes: U.K.'s Ealing Studios Entertainment Gets New Owner

Ben Latham Jones

"Ealing is going to be about making films again, and with the Ealing stamp on it,” says Ben Latham-Jones.

The production arm of Ealing Studios, the iconic British name famed for its series of post-WWII comedies, including Whisky Galore and Passport to Pimlico, has a new owner.

The production arm of Ealing Studios, the iconic British name famed for its series of post-WWII comedies, including Whisky Galore and Passport to Pimlico, has a new owner.

Ben Latham-Jones, previously a partner in Ealing Studios Entertainment having joined the company in 2013, has bought the banner outright from co-partner Barnaby Thompson, who is planning to move into directing, and has plans to recharge its movie-making heritage. Financial details weren't disclosed.

"Ealing is going to be about making films again, and with the Ealing stamp on it,” Latham-Jones tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he hopes to make four to six films a year. “I’m basically moving the brand forward.”

Among the films coming up from Ealing are a Maria Callas biopic starring Noomi Rapace, which is selling in the Marche and “doing really well,” according to Latham-Jones. Rapace will also star in newly unveiled Swedish drama Vacation, while others include Encounter from BAFTA-winning British director and actor Dominic Savage, and Kids in Love, the coming-of-age drama starring rising U.K. talent Will Poultner and Cara Delevingne, which is being presented to Cannes buyers. Before these comes the Nina Simone biopic Nina starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo, which eOne and Universal are releasing worldwide later this year.

There are also plans to move further into TV, with Rowan Atkinson already revealed as playing legendary French fictional detective Jules Maigret in two films for U.K. broadcaster ITV. “The ambition for that is we do two a year or two every 18 months,” says Latham-Jones. “There are going to be some more announcements with TV in the coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, outgoing studio head Thompson, whose production credits include the likes of Wayne’s World, Spice World and The Importance of Being Earnest, is set retain his shares in Ealing Studios Operations, which runs the stages and facilities side of the business.

But his first post-Ealing stint as director will have his old company on board as producers. “I can’t say what it is yet, but we will very soon,” says Latham-Jones. “He’s always wanted to get into directing. So with him shifting his focus, it made sense for me to come in and buy the brand.” And the cost? “It was the right price.”

 

comments powered by Disqus