Lionsgate pacts for Spanish-language titles


CORRECTED 5:14 p.m. PT March 26, 2008

TORONTO -- Lionsgate has signed an exclusive agreement to release DVD product from Spanish-language and urban specialty distributor Xenon Pictures, the Vancouver-based company said Wednesday.

The home entertainment deal will see Lionsgate take over distribution of Xenon titles in the U.S. market from Universal Music & Video Distribution.

As part of their pact, Lionsgate will release about 300 DVD titles from Xenon and the labels it represents, including Grupo Televisa's Televisa Home Entertainment-branded product and theatrical films.

As Xenon winds down, the output deal it signed with Universal in 2004, 44 titles will remain with Vivendi Entertainment, part of the Universal Music Group, until Jan. 1. Before the deal with Universal, Xenon distributed its own product.

"We have been very impressed with Lionsgate's thoughtful and thorough approach to the home entertainment space in recent years, as well as with the professionalism of their sales force," Xenon founder and CEO Leigh Savidge said in a statement.

Lionsgate earlier released some Xenon titles, which included Snoop Dogg's "Hood of Horror."

Lionsgate president and co-COO Steve Beeks said that the deal with Xenon will add to his company's Spanish-language and urban product output.

The deal was hammered out by Xenon executive vp Stephen Housden and CFO Kent Little, with Lionsgate executive vp business and legal affairs Wendy Jaffe across the table for Lionsgate.