Cannes: EuropaCorp Gets $450 Million Funding for English-Language Movie Push

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Luc Besson

UPDATED: The five-year credit facility for Luc Besson's company comes from J.P. Morgan, SunTrust Bank and OneWest.

Luc Besson's EuropaCorp on Friday announced a $450 million credit facility that it will use for its previously announced push into English-language production.

The five-year facility comes from J.P. Morgan, SunTrust Bank and OneWest.  Representatives from the three banks will meet in Paris next week. 

The announcement in Cannes by EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert and David Shaheen, head of the entertainment division at J.P. Morgan, is part of a EuropaCorp's plan to expand their English language production slate in film and television. 

Lambert called the financing deal the "last act" in their plan to expand English-language prodcution, following a previously-announced U.S. distribution joint venture with Relativity Media, which is called Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution (RED).

"The existing credit facility was too limited to fully finance our slate," said Lambert. The new fund is three fold significant increase from their previous fund of 130 million. 

"Our objective to be able in the future is to produce mainly English-speaking movies," said Lambert. "The objective of the company is to be able to get access to the worldwide market through very international, commercial movies and TV shows."

Though EuropaCorp's headquarters and production base will remain in Paris, their production will be significantly focused on the U.S. with expanding their U.S-based team. The company is in the process of hiring an L.A. acquisitions team for film that will be announced soon, and will launch an L.A.-based TV production arm that is expected to be announced by the end of June. 

The L.A. TV production will be dedicated to producing shows for the U.S. market and will work day-to-day with U.S. networks.

EuropaCorp's English-speaking film slate will expand three-fold to around eight per year, with their French-language slate reduced from nine to four. 

"It's proabably what we know how to do best, to provide the marketplace with commercial, international movies with movie stars produced from France with a very competitive production budget compared to U.S. production companies."

EVP of U.S. film production Lisa Ellzey , said EuropaCorp has about twenty-two projects in development currently. "Luc had a backlog of ideas wo were were able to move fast," she said.

The company said Friday that the first film to be distributed by the venture will be the reboot of the Transporter franchise. The film starts principal photography June 30, with an expected release in the first quarter of 2015. Besson was not present at the event, as he is in Paris finalizing casting for the film.