AFM: Lionsgate, StudioCanal Expand Pact With U.S. Movie Distribution Deal

Toon Star: Shaun the Sheep Movie - H 2016
Courtesy of James Fisher/Aardman Animations LTD and Studiocanal S.A.

Lionsgate and the Summit Entertainment labels will release a mix of live-action and animated Aardman Studios titles, including 'Shaun The Sheep Movie 2.'

Lionsgate has expanded its multi-year output deal with StudioCanal to get a mix of live-action and animated titles from Aardman Studios into the U.S. market.

The latest pact, including the U.S. distribution rights to the animated family film Shaun The Sheep Movie 2, also covers two major StudioCanal properties currently in development. Lionsgate, StudioCanal and Aardman earlier partnered on the Oscar-nominated Shaun The Sheep Movie.

Other StudioCanal titles headed to the U.S. via Lionsgate include the action thriller Hard Powder, which teams Liam Neeson, Laura Dern and Emmy Rossum, and the adventure tale The Mercy, for Roadside Attractions, which stars Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.

Lionsgate’s distribution relationship with StudioCanal launched in 2010 with the horror thriller The Last Exorcism, with past releases including Shaun the Sheep Movie and the upcoming thriller The Commuter, set for a Jan. 12, 2018 debut, and the prehistoric comedy Early Man from Aardman, voiced by Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston and Maisie Williams, among others, to open Feb 16. 2018.

Lionsgate also handles StudioCanal’s film library in North America, and StudioCanal has a movie output deal for Lionsgate and Summit titles in Australia and New Zealand.

Lionsgate co-COO and Motion Picture Group co-president Steve Beeks in a statement said the latest StudioCanal titles "bring to our slate a mix of live-action and animated event films driven by AAA talent that will continue to enhance the strength and diversity of our portfolio for years to come."

“We are excited by the opportunity to continue to tap their marketing expertise and distribution prowess as we add our titles to their commercially exciting slate," added StudioCanal executive vp international distribution Anna Marsh in her own statement.

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Beeks, president of acquisitions and co-productions Jason Constantine and executive vp acquisitions and co-productions Eda Kowan. Marsh negotiated the agreement for StudioCanal.