CinemaNX signs 3-pic deal with Vue

Distribution model kicks off with Richard Linklater film

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CANNES -- The Isle of Man is famous for its cats with no tails, and now the island's finance and production powerhouse CinemaNX is planning to cut out the distribution tail and go straight to theaters with its movies.

CinemaNX has inked a deal with the U.K.'s third-largest exhibition chain, Vue Entertainment, to push at least three movies from its production roster straight onto the exhibitor's screens.

In Cannes to talk to potential producing and finance partners about it's new-look distribution plans, CinemaNX chairman Steve Christian told The Hollywood Reporter that the deal reflects the need to develop bold new models of digital distribution.

"Retaining control of our titles throughout the entire production, exhibition and distribution cycles will influence us greatly in our choice of material and investment profile," Christian said.

The new distribution model will kick off with Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles," CinemaNX and Vue said. The duo will share marketing and advertising costs for the titles and also share in the revenue generated.

Christian said that the exhibition pact is nonexclusive, which means the release of "Welles" and the other two will go to other movie theater circuits.

"Our aim (at Vue) is to make it easier for locally produced movies to gain a theatrical release which in turn will inspire filmmakers in the U.K. to get recognition for their work," Vue CEO Tim Richards said.

The Isle of Man outfit has brought in Gemma Spector, who has spent four years with British indie distributor Revolver, to oversee the direct distribution experiment.

Spector said using "Welles" to kick it off was "a real statement of our commitment to making this new distribution model work."

Christian said he thinks it will take a few years to establish the system but is adamant it's a change or die climate for filmmakers and exhibitors right now.