A North Atlantic treaty for Pathe, WB

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French-owned Pathe and Warner Bros. have struck a production and distribution alliance for their U.K. and Ireland operations.

The companies said Thursday that the pact between Warner Bros. Entertainment U.K. and Pathe's U.K. operations will see the two work together to "identify co-production opportunities."

The units have collaborated for several months on a big-budget, live-action movie based on Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" stories, and footage from a test shoot, complete with live panthers, is in postproduction.

As part of the deal, Pathe U.K. will focus more on the development and production of its own titles, rather than the acquisition of third-party films. The intent is to produce an annual slate of four to five English-language films, to be supplemented by productions from Pathe France.

Pathe's films will be distributed in the U.K. and Ireland by WBEUK, beginning in May with the release of Stephen Frears' "Cheri," starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates.

Pathe U.K. will continue to devise marketing campaigns for its films, with WBEUK taking on the titles across all media except local video rights, which will continue to be handled for Pathe by 20th Century Pathe. (partialdiff)
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