Toronto 2012: Lionsgate Signs Output Deal in Spain With Aurum

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TORONTO – Lionsgate is eyeing a possible re-entry into the Canadian distribution market as the mini-studio builds out a global distribution network, including through a new partnership with Aurum Producciones in Spain.

Lionsgate unveiled a new multiyear output agreement Tuesday where feature films from Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment will be released by Alliance Films in Spain, via its Aurum subsidiary.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said the Aurum deal is the first of a half-dozen supply deals to be unveiled over the coming weeks in a bid to build out a global distribution network.

The Vancouver-based mini-studio until now has relied for film sales on package deals, often secured at festivals.

That’s changing after Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment and Patrick Wachsberger is bringing his own approach to global distribution of film product.

“Given the strength of our output, we’re going to be able to make deals with who we see as the best independent distributors in the territory, and where we get minimum guarantees that are very significant,” Feltheimer said after the Lionsgate shareholders meeting concluded in Toronto.

“We are delighted to extend Summit’s longstanding relationship with the team at Aurum to encompass both the Lionsgate and Summit brands in Spain,” Lionsgate motion picture group co-chairs Wachsberger and Rob Friedman said in a statement.

“The combination of Lionsgate and Summit earlier this year allows us to bring a significantly expanded portfolio of product to our distribution partners around the world, enables us to achieve significant economies of scale and ensures even greater consistency and visibility in our global business,” they added.

Aurum is a division of Alliance Films, which in turn has been acquired by Entertainment One, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Feltheimer said he saw no problem with an Alliance Films/Entertainment One combo controlling the Canadian market “as long as they good a job with our movies.”

He added Lionsgate would consider getting back into Canada after leaving it to Maple Pictures and Alliance Films to release its product here in recent years, but “not in the short run.”

And what about the long term? “Life is full of possibilities,” he concluded.

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