Warner Music Signs Deal to Develop Biopics/Docs Based on Artists Like Led Zeppelin, Coldplay and More

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Led Zeppelin

The deal, between Warner Music and U.K. production house Catalyst, opens the door for films about the label's entire roster of artists, including Neil Young and Prince.

The likes of Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Prince and possibly even Coldplay could soon be given the biopic/documentary treatment following a new deal with Warner Music.

The record label, owned by Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, announced on Thursday that it was partnering with new U.K.-based TV and film production banner Catalyst Global Media to identify and develop a slate of features films based on its vast roster of artists (which also includes the likes of John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald)

The multi-year, multi-picture arrangement will see Catalyst develop and finance the projects and oversee worldwide distribution, and, according to the release, “is expected to result in a number of new accounts of some of the most iconic artists of all time.”

Catalyst co-founder and music division head Al Hardiman will oversee the slate alongside CEO Charlotte Walls. The pair will work closely with Warner Music execs Rich Robinson, svp synchronization, Europe, and Jenn Moss, senior synchronization manager, to explore the Warner library for suitable material.

"Al, Charlotte and their team are experts in creating memorable moments. They bring scripts to life, design stunning visuals and have the ability to really pull audiences into the worlds they create,” said Robinson.

"Our rich catalog will provide lots of inspiring and exciting material — from the influences and passions of Warner's iconic artists to the making of legendary songs — and I look forward to seeing the stories that result from our partnership."

Warner and Catalyst’s relationship began when the label handled music supervising services for several of the production house’s projects, including the three-episode pilot of sci-fi series Residue, which was released this year by Netflix.

"Music is a key part of the DNA here at Catalyst, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Warner Music to bring a selection of compelling stories to the screen based on musical legends past and present,” added Catalyst’s Hardiman, who is himself a classically trained musician and has recorded and toured with artists including Radiohead and The Who.

“The power of music to capture the human spirit and to speak to audiences across the world is unrivaled, and this co-venture provides a wonderful opportunity in film to explore these artists, their lives and their work in a very inspiring way."

The deal comes amid a slew of titles looking at the lives of popular musicians. Asif Kapadia's doc Amy, chronicling the life and death of British singer Amy Winehouse, is already set to become one of the highest-grossing documentaries in recent years, having amassed in excess of $4.7 million so far in the U.S. and a similar amount in the U.K.

Amy's success has also seen Winehouse's best-selling album Back to Black reenter the U.K. charts, something Warner Music has no doubt been keeping an eye on for the new deal.

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