Cannes Exclusive: Crystal Sky Group’s SP Distribution Makes 45-Picture Output Deal for French Video and Theatrical

2:00 PM PST 05/17/2012 by Gregg Kilday

Talks for the group to acquire a controlling interest in Aventi Distribution of Paris are in an advanced stage.

Steven Paul’s SP Distribution, a division of the Crystal Sky Group, has struck a 45-picture output deal with Aventi Distribution, a French company headed by Richard Lechartier.

Paul and Lechartier are also in advanced talks for Crystal Sky to buy a controlling stake in the French video distributor, as part of a plan for Aventi to expand its digital distribution and move for the first time into theatrical distribution in France.

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The agreement follows a deal Crystal Sky made with Anchor Bay in 2010 which gives it the ability to distribute its movies directly in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. Paul said he plans to make more deals during Cannes to expand his company’s ability to do direct distribution in major territories worldwide; and he will also seek other opportunities to invest and acquire distribution capability outside the U.S.

Aventi, founded in 2003, is an independent home entertainment distributor in France. It had revenue of about $23 million in 2010 and represents, among others E1, Virgin and Amazon in France.

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“It brings us one step closer to accomplishing our goal of having direct distribution capabilities around he world,” Paul said.

Paul intends to seek out an increased number of movies each year where Crystal Sky and Aventi will jointly acquire all rights for the five territories where they now have direct distribution capability. Some movies will go theatrical and all will go to home video.

The deal was negotiated on behalf of SP by Scott Karol.

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