Fox Pacts With Vice Media for Movies

Jim Gianopulos

Fox Filmed Entertainment

They expect to make at least two movies a year that the partnership will finance, produce, market and distribute worldwide

Vice Media and 20th Century Fox have forged a partnership to finance, produce, market and distribute at least two feature films a year.

The joint venture was brought together by 20th Century Fox chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos, VICE CEO Shane Smith and Vice chief creative officer Eddy Moretti.

Moretti will head Vice Films. Vice executive creative director Danny Gabai will head up development and oversee creative on production and marketing.

Sanford Panitch, the president of Fox International Productions, and Salil Mehta, president of content management for Fox Filmed Entertainment, will oversee Vice Films for 20th Century Fox.

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Vice, which has a reputation for doing unconventional, often outrageous and politically incorrect journalism, will also have a first-look production deal that will allow it to develop larger-budgeted films as well. Fox will also be able to develop feature films based on Vice's library of unique stories.

“The success of Fishing Without Nets, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and All This Mayhem showed us that we can play a vital role supporting exciting, bold and visionary filmmaking,” said Moretti. “In partnership with Jim and his excellent team at Fox, we will build a new global home for cinematic creativity, supporting filmmakers from development to distribution, and creating a new business model for the industry along the way. But at the heart of this partnership is our love of cinema; Vice is committed to the enduring artistic and cultural relevance of the 2-hour narrative.”

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is typical of the unusual nature of Vice content. The film, an Iranian Vampire Western, centers on a romance between a young man and a mysterious young woman on the streets of Bad City. 

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“Vice is a bold, groundbreaking new-media company,” said Gianopulos, “that allows us to reach an audience that is focused online and consumes its news and entertainment across many media platforms. Vice not only knows how to reach that audience but markets to them better than anyone else out there.”

Vice was launched in 1994 as a punk magazine in Montreal but has grown into a multimedia company with operations in 36 countries. Now based in Brooklyn, New York, it operates digital channels; a television and feature film production studio; a magazine; a record label; and a book-publishing division.

Earlier this year it was reported to be in talks with a number of high-profile investors including Time Warner. That deal didn’t work out, but Vice did get an investment of $250 million in August from A+E Networks, owned by Hearst and Disney.

It also got an investment of $250 million in September from Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital company which was an early investor in Facebook and Netflix.

Those deals valued the company at $2.5 billion.

The investment was designed to finance expansion of Vice activities, which is just what the Fox deal accomplishes.