Columbia, Gaumont dissolve partnership


PARIS -- Columbia's French distribution arm and Gallic exhibitor Gaumont have reached a joint agreement to dissolve their partnership, the parties announced Thursday. Taking into account the escalating volume of films distributed by Gaumont and Columbia in an increasingly competitive environment, the two companies have opted to launch separate distribution organizations in France starting in July 2007. The Gaumont/Columbia distribution banner plans to honor its three-year joint distribution venture begun on July 1, 2004. Since its creation, Gaumont Columbia Tristar Films France has distributed more than 70 films, including "Spiderman 2," "Palais Royal," "Closer," Hitch," "The Da Vinci Code" and the recent international success "Casino Royale," which was released in France on Wednesday. Gaumont Columbia Tristar France declined to comment on details of the split.