news 8 months ago

Paramount Pictures Intl. Strikes Landmark Distribution Deal with Italy’s Eagle Pictures (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety — Elsa Keslassy

Paramount Pictures International has signed a landmark distribution partnership with Italy’s leading independent distribution company Eagle Pictures. Under the deal, Eagle Pictures will release Paramount titles in the country starting in March with John Krasinski’s anticipated horror film “A Quiet Place 2.”

Since 2017, Paramount Pictures has had its films released by Fox in Italy, and prior to that, by Universal. Following the Disney/Fox merger, however, the U.S. studio has been searching for another solid partner among independent distributors in the region.

A number of distribution outfits were considered, including Medusa, Rai, Leone, Notorious and Lucky Red, according to an industry insider.

The timing is auspicious for Eagles Pictures, which has had a banner year. The outfit was Italy’s top distribution company, and the only local player ranking in the B.O.’s top 10, leading with “Green Book.” Eagle was also the only Italian banner to boast several films in the top 25. Besides “Green Book,” Eagle Pictures has also released “Mia And The White Lion” and “The Addams Family,” which both performed well at the box office.

The alliance with Paramount underscores Eagle Pictures’ close relationship with top companies in Hollywood, according to Tarak Ben Ammar, who owns parent group Prisma TV.

Ammar pointed out Eagle Pictures already distributes MGM movies in Italy and recently partnered with the studio to produce Jean-Jacques Annaud’s TV series “The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair” with MGM. Eagle is also a strategic investor in Spy Glass Media Group along with Gary Barber, Warner Bros., Lantern Entertainment and Cineworld.

Besides “Quiet Places,” Eagle Pictures will release 13 more Paramount titles in Italy in 2020, doubling up their distribution slate to a total of 32 films per year that include acquired movies, notably those from MGM.

Ben Ammar said he had a deep bond with Paramount that goes back to the early days of his career, when Paramount had hired him as production coordinator for the shoots of “Indiana Jones” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in Tunisia. The pact with Paramount also seals Ben Ammar’s long-term work relationship and friendship with Jim Gianopulos, the former 20th Century Fox chief who became Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO in 2017.

Going forward, Ben Ammar said Eagle Pictures is looking to ramp up its production business and will be investing in premium films and TV drama.

“‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair’ opened up new perspectives and opportunities to produce more premium content and work with top European and American talent,” said Ben Ammar. “With our leadership position in Europe and ties with Hollywood, we are well-positioned to create a bridge between both places and give filmmakers the opportunity to make content for U.S. and global audiences,” said Ben Ammar.

Eagle Pictures is currently teaming up with Spy Glass Group and 3 Marys Entertainment on the comedy “Perfect Strangers,” the English-language remake of Paolo Genovese’s 2016 hit movie “Perfetti Sconosciuti” which has also been remade in France by Fred Cavayé (“Le jeu”). “Insecure” star Issa Rae just signed on to write, produce and star in “Perfect Strangers.”

“Due to our DNA and love for movies, we’re interested in producing films based on original European stories, as well as adapting novels and remakes, bringing together the best of Italy, Europe and the U.S.,” said Ben Ammar.

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