Now that its takeover of rival Alliance Films is complete, eOne has announced exec appointments for the UK and Spanish arms of the company. Alex Hamilton has been named managing director in the UK to oversee the combined UK film team, including distributor Momentum Pictures, and Jorge Vazquez will be managing director in Spain where eOne acquired distributor Aurum Producciones via the Alliance deal. Hamilton, a former president of Icon Film Distribution, joined eOne in 2008 to oversee UK activity. Vazquez, a 14-year veteran of Aurum, has been managing director since 2008. In other exec moves, Adam Hurst is segueing from eOne’s UK deputy CFO to the post of finance director for the UK division and Igor Ibeas will become deputy managing director in Spain. The company further announced that finance exec Charles Ogilvie is leaving. There will be more moves in the near future as eOne integrates Alliance’s businesses, with watchers paying particular attention to what happens in the territories where there is notable overlap, namely the UK and Canada, and especially with the European Film Market just around the corner. Exactly how the company will operate at the EFM was being worked out when one exec recently told me, “It’s still a big machine to feed.” EOne said today, “The Group is working quickly to bring the companies together under eOne and expects to make further announcements on leadership, branding and organizational structure in the coming weeks and months.”
Entertainment One has reported a drop in adjusted pre-tax profits for the six months ended September 30 with earnings down to $14M from $29.9M in the same period last year. The producer-distributor said underlying EBITDA of $21.3M was down from last year’s $37.5M, primarily due to the timing of increased investment, which drove P&A costs up 30% in the first half. Revenues were up to $350.39M compared to $325.11M in 2011 and operating cash flow in the first half was up 59% to $96.59M. The Canada-based company confirmed in September that it would acquire rival Alliance Films for $230M in a long-brewing deal. Today, eOne says funding for the acquisition has been secured and that the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in early 2013. Also in September, the company announced a multi-year offshore output deal with DreamWorks.
PREVIOUS…BREAKING…4:52 PM PT: I’m told that DreamWorks will shortly be announcing that it has made a four-year output agreement with eOne, with that company releasing DreamWorks product in the UK and Benelux. The arrangement begins with Starbuck, which stars Vince Vaughn and shoots in October. This will be the first of several deals after DreamWorks aligned with Mister Smith in an effort to be more hands on in arranging distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Disney distributes in North America, Latin America, Asia, Russia and Australia. DreamWorks partner Stacey Snider was at the Toronto Film Festival, and I believe one of her missions was to meet potential distribution partners. This deal was put in place by Mister Smith’s David Garrett and DreamWorks COO Jeff Small.
Now, Reliance fully finances all of DreamWorks films, but this offshore effort will result in advances on films. While DreamWorks reupped its financing deal with Reliance that would cover three to five movies each year, getting offshore advances should allow DreamWorks the cash flow to make more films if Snider and partner Steven Spielberg choose to do so. It also gives them a more hands-on relationship in the foreign releases of their films, which can only help performance. Upcoming DreamWorks films include the Steven Spielberg-directed Robopocalypse with Chris Hemsworth starring (that isn’t part of this arrangement because the film’s foreign is being handled by Fox International) and an adaptation of the vidgame Need For Speed, among others.
A deal has been brewing for some time between the Canadian giants. In May, Deadline reported word was spreading about a hookup during the Cannes Film Festival, and eOne later confirmed it was in talks to buy rival Alliance. Today’s announcement comes just as the Toronto Film Festival is getting underway where both companies are handling a host of titles. The merger will create a group with reach across Canada, the UK, Benelux, Australia, the U.S. and Spain. EOne has The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 coming up and purchasing Alliance will give it Canadian rights to 11,000 titles including The Hunger Games. A deal is subject to regulatory approval. Here’s the press release on the proposed acquisition:
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Today the Board of Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) (“eOne” or “the Group”) announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Alliance Films, a leading independent distributor of filmed entertainment products in Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain, from affiliates of GS Capital Partners and Investissement Québec for approximately CAD$225 million.
BBC Hitches Wagon To Hitchcock Craze, Again
With Alfred Hitchcock hot right now, the BBC is doubling up on the action. It’s already co-producing The Girl with HBO, a look at the director’s obsessive relationship with The Birds star Tippi Hedren. Now, it’s producing a new take on The Lady Vanishes with a British cast that includes Upstairs Downstairs star Keeley Hawes, Spooks’ Gemma Jones and The Hour’s Julian Rhind-Tutt. The 90-minute psychological thriller is penned by Fiona Seres and is set to air at Christmas. Seres adapted the source novel The Wheel Spins, which Hitchcock filmed as The Lady Vanishes in 1938. Set in 1931, the story centers on Iris, a young socialite on vacation who leaves her friends to travel alone. But after fainting at the train station, she awakens in a dreamlike state where a woman who comforts her then vanishes. Tuppence Middleton (Spies Of Warsaw, Love Punch) and Tom Hughes (Cemetery Junction, Page Eight) lead the cast. The film is produced by BBC Drama Productions and Ann Tricklebank. Diarmuid Lawrence (Little Dorrit) is directing. Hitchcock’s Vertigo recently dislodged Citizen Kane as BFI Sight & Sound’s greatest movie of all time. In addition to The Girl with Sienna Miller and Toby Jones, another project based on the director’s life is Fox Searchlight’s Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson.
Entertainment One Lines Up South Korea Partner
United Entertainment Korea has made a deal to handle all eOne’s international home entertainment titles in South Korea. eOne Television International will continue to handle TV content in Korea and eOne Films International will continue to handle film sales. First titles to be released in theaters under the new partnership are Dragon Age and Mass Effect. eOne filmed entertainmenbt president Patrice Theroux said “it’s essential that we build strong partnerships with local industry leaders like UEK” as eOne expands globally. UEK handles home entertainment products for Sony Pictures, NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox.
Entertainment One confirmed today that the distributor has held negotiations about purchasing Alliance Films, as Deadline reported last week from the Cannes Film Festival. Both companies had remained publicly mum about the negotiations but eOne said today it …
CANNES (May 23, 2012) – Entertainment One (“eOne”) announced today from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival that the company is acquiring all North American rights to director Charlie Matthau’s homage to 1970s filmmaking, FREAKY DEAKY. Matthau also penned the screenplay, which is based on Elmore Leonard’s 1988 novel of the same name. The film stars Crispin Glover, Billy Burke, Michael Jai White, Christian Slater, Andy Dick, Breanne Racano and Sabina Gadecki. Matthau andJudd Rubin produced the project, with George Eyde, Louis Eyde, Nathaniel Eyde, Robert Cantrell, Steven Berez, Donald Zuckerman, and Lee Greenberg executive producing. FREAKY DEAKY had its world premiere earlier this year at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
LOS ANGELES/TORONTO/LONDON – MAY 3, 2012 – Entertainment One (“eOne”) is pleased to announce that it has acquired the US and UK distribution rights to COSMOPOLIS in all media, from Paris-based Kinology. As previously announced, eOne will also handle the theatrical release of the film in Canada.
Based on award-winning writer Don DeLillo’s novella of the same name, Cosmopolis is a contemporary thriller about a hedge fund trader who is stalked while his fortune evaporates under the weight of his cynical bets against the survival of the global economy.
Directed by the highly-esteemed and multi-award winning David Cronenberg, the film stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti. Cosmopolis is a presentation of Paulo Branco and Martin Katz. The film is produced by Paulo Branco of Alfama Films and Martin Katz of Prospero Pictures and is co-produced by Grégoire Melin of Kinology.
EXCLUSIVE: Cannes is two weeks away and already the deals are percolating. Yesterday, The Weinstein Company paid upwards of $3 million for the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet. Now, I’m told eOne is closing in on a deal …
Toronto/Los Angeles/London/Amsterdam/Sydney – February 15, 2012 – Entertainment One (eOne) is pleased to announce that it has secured the rights to a broad selection of premium titles at this year’s annual European Film Market in Berlin. From comedies and dramas to zombie-flicks and thrillers, eOne scored films for each of its core markets and inked a number of key multi-territory deals.
Entertainment One secured multi-territory rights for, among others:
· 2 GUNS, starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, from Foresight, UK & Canada
· A MOST WANTED MAN, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, from FilmNation Entertainment, Canada & Benelux
· DEAD MINE, Writer/Director Steven Sheil, from Celluloid Nightmares, UK, Canada & Benelux
· LOVE PUNCH, starring Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan, from SND, UK, Canada & Australia
· MISS YOU ALREADY, Director Paul Andrew Williams and starring Jennifer Aniston, from The Salt Company, UK, Canada & Australia
· SIDE EFFECTS (‘BITTER PILL’), Director Steven Soderbergh and starring Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jude Law, from FilmNation, UK & Canada
· WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, Director Jim Mickle, from Memento Films, UK & Canada
Other acquisition highlights from across eOne territories include:
Los Angeles/Toronto – February 6, 2012 – Independent studio Entertainment One (eOne) has entered into a multi-year film and television production pact with ROOM 101, Inc. partners Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity 1, 2 & 3, Insidious, The Devil Inside) and Adi Shankar (The Grey).
Under the terms of the deal, ROOM 101 will deliver on average two premium micro-budget genre titles annually to eOne. The projects will be high-concept and filmmaker-driven, and will encompass both acquisitions and original productions. eOne will finance, co-produce, and distribute globally, with the exception of the United States where distribution will be handled on a per-project basis.