MIPCOM: Starz' 'Black Sails' Sells for Germany, France, Latin America

"Black Sails"

The pirate series, executive produced by Michael Bay, will go out near day-and-date in select territories worldwide.

CANNES – International broadcasters have boarded Black Sails en masse.

The pirate adventure series, which Michael Bay is executive producing for Starz together with showrunner and executive producer Jon Steinberg, has sold to Germany, France, Canada, Israel and Latin America in the wake of its premiere screening at international market MIPCOM on Monday.

"It's really been gangbusters since the screening," said Gene George, executive vp worldwide distribution for Starz, noting that while the bulk of the deals have been with pay TV players in the territories, the German deal is with a major free-to-air broadcaster.

Starz threw all its marketing might behind Black Sails' launch in Cannes, flying in Steinberg and onscreen talent - including actors Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Zach McGowan and Clara Paget -- to wow global broadcasters. 

George said the international rollout of the series will more closely resemble a feature film bow with some territories, including France, going out day-and-date, or nearly day-and-date, with the U.S. premiere, slated for January.

Ironically, given the show's subject matter, George said the strategy was aimed at reducing piracy but also at taking advantage of the media coverage surrounding the U.S. marketing launch.

"A lot of that spills over internationally nowadays, particularly with social media, in a way that it didn't before," he said. "So there is a global awareness for a show like this that our local partners can take advantage of."