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Sergio Leone Film Group Stock Rises in Italian Market Debut

Django Unchained
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" was a tribute to the "spaghetti western" genre created by Italian director Sergio Leone.

The late director invented the "spaghetti western" genre with such films as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

LONDON – Leone Film Group, the company that owns the movies of late Italian director Sergio Leone, made its stock market debut in Milan on Wednesday.

Leone invented the "spaghetti western" genre with such films as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars and Once Upon a Time in America. And he helped launch the film career of Clint Eastwood. Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained paid tribute to the genre.

As of 11:30 a.m. Milan time, the stock of Leone Film Group was up 1.9 percent at $ 6.72 (4.89 euros).

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Leone's children Andrea and Raffaella now run the company, which he had founded before his death in 1989. LFG manages a library of 400 titles and produces and distributes Italian and foreign films in Italy.

This year, the company distributed Ron Howard's Formula One drama Rush, and it is also distributing Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street in the country. It has an exclusive relationship with Dreamworks Distribution that brings releases to Italy.

The siblings have in recent years bought back the rights to many of their father’s movies and also hope to bring them to new audiences. The Wall Street Journal reported that they are, for example, hoping to reach deals for spaghetti western-style areas in U.S. theme parks and create a video game inspired by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

And they are looking to develop their father's last screenplay, which he put together with David Franzoni, according to the Journal, but it didn't provide further details.

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"We have lived and breathed cinema since we were born, but we have always had an eye on the business side," Andrea Leone told Reuters recently.

He and his sister have said that LFG in 2014 and 2015 wants to distribute 12-13 films each and co-produce more Italian films shot in the U.S.
The IPO proceeds will go towards adding to the firm's library and movie production and strike additional distribution deals with U.S. partners.

LFG had $22.8 million (16.6 million euros) in revenue in 2012. The IPO comes at a time when various smaller Italian firms are eyeing a stock market listing amid a difficult environment for bank financing in the country.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai