Anchor Bay U.K. Inks Deal With British Production Banner Richwater Films

The Starz-owned distributor and the fast-growing maker of British gangster films will co-produce a minimum of four movies a year.
Danny Dyer   |   Getty Images
The Starz-owned distributor and the fast-growing maker of British gangster films will co-produce a minimum of four movies a year.

LONDON – Anchor Bay Entertainment U.K., the Britain-based, Starz-owned distributor, has signed a co-production deal with Jonathan Sothcott’s indie production banner Richwater Films. The two companies will develop, finance and produce a minimum of four movies per year.

The deal marks one of the freshest investments in U.K. production by a U.S. distributor in recent years.

Anchor Bay U.K. director of acquisitions Rod Smith described the partnership with Richwater Films as "an exciting new chapter in Anchor Bay U.K.’s growth and development."

The deal cements an already extant relationship between Anchor and Richwater that saw the distributor take U.K. and Australian rights to Stephen Reynolds' Vendetta, starring Danny Dyer.

Under the new pact, the pair will unite to produce and distribute London revenge thriller We Still Kill the Old Way, co-written by Gary Lawrence and Green Street Hooligans scribe Dougie Brimson.

The script revolves around a group of ageing London gangsters going on a vigilante killing spree when one of their number is murdered by a street gang.

Shooting is due to commence in January 2014.

Richwater CEO Sothcott said the deal marked a "genuine watershed moment in British film production -- an American distributor committing to such a big creative slate of independent British films."

Anchor Bay Entertainment will retain U.K. distribution rights as part of the deal, and the producers will appoint a sales agent to handle the rest of the world.

Richwater’s Nick Aldrich said the stated aim is to make the banner into an out-and-out commercial British filmmaker.

"Even as we diversify the business into publishing, soundtracks and digital content, we have never forgotten that our core trade is DVD product. And as the market continues to flourish, we are in a very exciting and unique position," Aldrich said.

The deal is not exclusive for Richwater, as it is shortly to begin shooting gangster epic Top Dog for Universal Pictures U.K.

Richwater's first movie, Vendetta, marks the return of cult British actor Dyer to the big screen and also stars Vincent Regan and Ricci Harnett, while its second film, London hitman thriller Assassin, pairs Dyer with former Spandau Ballet bandmembers Gary and Martin Kemp in their first joint big-screen outing since cult classic The Krays.

Both pictures are being distributed in the U.K. by Anchor Bay Entertainment in deals struck before the pact.

  • Stuart Kemp