AFM 2012: Sierra/Affinity Selling Paramount's 'Pain & Gain,' 'Flight'

Bruce Greenwood Denzel Washington Don Cheadle Flight - H 2012
Paramount Pictures

Directed by Michael Bay, "Pain & Gain" stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson.

Paramount has tapped Sierra/Affinity to sell select territories for Flight, the Denzel Washington drama directed by Robert Zemeckis, and upcoming action pic Pain & Gain.

Flight opens this weekend at the domestic box office, and could hit $20 million in its debut, a better-than-expected gross. Paramount is making a major awards push for Flight.

Directed by Michael Bay, Pain & Gain stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. Johnson in particular is an enormous star internationally. The film, about a pair of Florida bodybuilders who get caught up in an extortion and kidnapping plot that goes horribly awry, opens domestically on April 26.

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The deal with Paramount reunites Sierra/Affinity CEO Nick Meyer with his previous studio; he held top positions at Paramount and Paramount Vantage before forming Sierra/Affinity with Marc Schaberg.

"Having the opportunity to represent films from two of the most respected filmmakers working today is a wonderful opportunity for my colleagues and I at Sierra/Affinity,” said Meyer.

“Further to this, being entrusted by Paramount to help them place the film with the most appropriate international distributors in specific markets is something we are very appreciative of and look forward to helping the studio to maximize the upside for their pictures in the international marketplace," he said.

It's somewhat unusual for a major studio to hire a foreign sales agent to handle a film in foreign markets, since all the major studios have vibrant international distribution operations in place. It is a way, however, to increase cashflow upfront.

Sierra/Affinity has already completed deals with StudioCanal for Germany and German-speaking Switzerland, and with Andorra for Spain and Spanish-speaking Andorra.

Territories where Sierra/Affinity will license the distribution rights to Pain & Gain include Spain and CIS, Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, The Baltics and Caucasus region. 

Earlier this week, Glen Basner's FilmNation announced it is selling Paramount's Nebraska in select territories. Directed by Alexander Payne, the black-and-white road trip stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte.