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Beefing up its distribution pipeline, Universal has agreed to distribute 20 films produced by Media Rights Capital over five years, beginning in 2011.
Under terms of the deal, announced Thursday, Uni has committed to releasing the movies domestically, and the two companies said they may also partner on the worldwide release of individual titles. The joint venture does not prevent MRC from pre-selling films domestically and on a worldwide basis to other distributors.
While the agreement — under which MRC will pay Uni a distribution fee for handling distribution and marketing — will add four titles a year to Universal’s release slate, the studio said it will continue to produce and distribute the same number of films each year. Universal released 17 movies in 2009 and currently has 15 slated for release this year.
Universal and MRC previously collaborated on Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno” and are set to release “The Adjustment Bureau,” written and directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon, and the M. Night Shyamalan horror thriller, “Devil.”
Uni also released Ricky Gervais’ “Invention of Lying” internationally for MRC and recently acquired MRC’s live action/CG comedy “Ted,” written and directed by Seth MacFarlane.
“MRC has always had the ability to greenlight and fully finance our films. With this deal, we now have another powerful tool for our artist partners, providing them with automatic access to the marketing and distribution expertise of a major studio,” MRC co-CEO Modi Wiczyk said.
Commented Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson, “By leveraging our strong marketing and distribution operations we can augment our own slate and expand our relationship with MRC, bringing more value to Universal.”
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