U.K. is focus of Shine-New Regency pact

Shine Pictures has 'substantial' development fund

LONDON -- U.K. film and TV production banner Shine has polished up a joint filmmaking venture with Arnon Milchan's New Regency.

Dubbed Shine Pictures, the startup will draw from a "substantial" development fund to capitalize on the Shine Group's working relationships with the U.K. talent pool.

The aim is to deliver "innovative and creative material in combination with the filmmaking and marketing expertise of Regency and the worldwide distribution network of 20th Century Fox," the parties said Wednesday.

New Regency is 20% owned by Fox, with which it inked a 15-year distribution deal in 1998.

The venture will be spearheaded by Shine Group CEO and chairman Elisabeth Murdoch and New Regency co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker.

New Regency is known for making movies for mass worldwide appeal. Parker and Harper said the deal is a natural fit, with Shine and New Regency driven more by the creative values and initiatives they share.

"It provides for New Regency the ability to really channel into the U.K. talent pool in a direct way," Harper said. "Shine is really a big player in that world. We feel there's an opportunity to capitalize on that talent pool and make that talent pool more global and not keep it restricted to the U.K. And that's what I think Shine sees in this as well -- opening up their talent pool and bringing it into a global marketplace."

Added Parker: "The Shine Group represents innovative and forward-thinking creative entities, and that's very much reflected in what Bob and I are pushing for as New Regency goes forward, being explicitly and specifically material-driven and filmmaker-driven."

Shine's existing U.K.-based label, Kudos Pictures, headed by Paul Webster and Stephen Garrett, will run the venture for Shine.

Shine Pictures aims to build on the success of Kudos, which produced David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises," the parties said.

"This deal will give Kudos the opportunity to play on a bigger stage, aided by the complementary skills, assets and insights of our partners at New Regency," Murdoch said.

Leslie Simmons in Los Angeles contributed to this report.