Shout! Factory Acquires Westchester Films (Exclusive)

Alfred Hitchcock at Cannes (1972)

Alfred Hitchcock biking at the Cannes Film Festival. He was promoting Frenzy, about a serial killer who strangles his victim with a necktie. It turned out to be his final film.

Rights to films from Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, the Marx Brothers come in the deal

Shout! Factory has acquired Westchester Films, a distribution company with rights to such classics as Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent, John Ford’s Stagecoach and Merchant Ivory’s A Room With a View.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New York-based Westchester, founded in 2006 by producers Mark Balsam and Julian Schlossberg, will operate as a subsidiary of Shout! Its strength lies in rights for platforms including digital broadband, pay TV, VOD, satellite and broadcast networks.

Shout!, meanwhile, is seeking to diversify beyond DVD sales and aiming to launch a digital channel this year.

“We want to continue to grow our nonphysical distribution business,” Shout! president and co-founder Garson Foos said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a really good strategic move for us to acquire Westchester Films. Most of its revenue is from broadcast and digital. Going forward, we want to acquire libraries with significant digital and broadcast revenue streams.”

Also among the notable titles in Westchester’s library of more than 400 films are The Marx BrothersA Night in Casablanca (1946), Orson WellesOthello (1952), Fanny (1961) starring Leslie Caron, Hell’s Angels on Wheels with Jack Nicholson (1967), The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson, The Stunt Man (1980) with Peter O’Toole, Bruce Beresford’s Breaker Morant (1980) and eight Godzilla films, including the 1954 original.

Foos said that Balsam will help Shout! with broadcast sales of library content and further acquisitions, and he noted that Schlossberg has sturdy relationships with many of the rightsholders with whom Westchester has made deals in the past.