Universal distributes Paramount in NZ

3-year deal covers DVD, Blu-ray from Par and Nickelodeon

HONG KONG -- Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE) is to take over distribution of Paramount's entire home entertainment slate in New Zealand.

The three-year deal which starts this month covers DVD and Blu-ray from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.

"This agreement will be extremely beneficial in driving increased market presence across both rental and retail outlets," Liz Van Hooven, MD Universal Pictures Australasia, said. "A further key alliance will be with Paramount’s Theatrical division, who currently handle Universal's theatrical distribution, thereby delivering multiple synergy opportunities."

Upcoming titles scheduled for release in Q4 this year include "Watchmen," "Star Trek," "Ghost Town," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "G.I. Joe."

Paramount's overall theatrical B.O. in 2009 is the studio's second highest ever and is up 3.5% from 2008 led by the "Transformers" sequel which is the year's top grossing film with a NZ$8 million ($5.96 million).