Open Road, MadRiver Pictures Ink Multiyear Production Deal

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Tom Ortenberg, Marc Butan

MadRiver's Marc Butan will handle and oversee the production of the distributor's two to four in-house, wide-release movies per year.

Open Road Films and MadRiver Pictures have inked a multiyear, non-exclusive production deal for all of Open Road Films’ in-house productions.

The move extends the relationship between the two companies that already are in business together with MadRiver’s Triple 9. Open Road is releasing the John Hillcoat-directed drama on Feb. 26. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul and Anthony Mackie star in the pic.

Under the new deal, MadRiver's Marc Butan will handle and oversee the production of the distributor's two to four homegrown, wide-release movies per year. Open Road also is active in the acquisitions arena, and those films — such as its best picture Oscar nominee Spotlight — would not be covered by the MadRiver deal.

Separately, Open Road also will have a first-look opportunity to acquire U.S. distribution rights on MadRiver films. The foreign sales on MadRiver productions will be handled by MadRiver’s new international sales arm, run by Kimberly Fox. Foreign sales on Open Road’s in-house productions will continue to be handled by Open Road International and partner FilmNation.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Marc Butan and great respect for his depth of expertise in film production,” Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said Monday in a statement. “Having MadRiver Pictures as our partner is a feather in our cap and we are thrilled to be working with them.”

Added Butan: “We at MadRiver couldn’t be happier to be working with Tom, [COO] Elliott [Kleinberg] and the whole team at Open Road. In today’s independent marketplace, having a formal, ongoing relationship with a U.S. distributor of Open Road’s caliber is a huge win for us and the filmmakers we work with.”

MadRiver's upcoming films include James Gray’s The Lost City of Z starring Charlie Hunnam.

The deal was negotiated by Ortenberg and Kleinberg alongside Butan.

MadRiver Pictures recently expanded its operations by launching the international sales arm. The division will handle sales and distribution on all MadRiver films and third-party projects as well as films from Vendian Entertainment, which has made an investment in MadRiver and will provide equity financing to the company’s productions. Separately, Fox will continue to run the Annapurna International label and represent all of Annapurna Pictures titles for the international marketplace.

The company is in pre-production on Peter Landesman’s Felt, starring Liam Neeson.

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