SANTA MONICA, Calif., and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) Toronto, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, and Sam Nazarian's Los Angeles-based Element Films have signed a three-year pact calling for Element to develop, self-finance and produce three motion pictures a year for wide release by Lionsgate, it was jointly announced by Nazarian and Peter Block, Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.
The pact expands Lionsgate's pipeline of 18-20 theatrical releases a year by adding a reliable flow of product for wide release with minimal financial risk while providing Element with a long-term distribution partner and an unusually high level of creative autonomy. Element will select six of the nine pictures in the pact. Each film will be produced by Element President Adam Rosenfelt, who is Nazarian's producing partner and oversees all Element productions. Element Films International, headed by John Fremes, will handle foreign sales of each of the nine films covered under the agreement. Lionsgate and Element have already teamed on the teen comedy WAITING, which generated $16 million at the domestic box office and has shipped more than 2.5 million units on DVD for Lionsgate, and the upcoming contemporary thriller FIVE FINGERS.
"We work very well with Lionsgate and are excited to be in business with them in this new and expansive way," said Nazarian. "Their track record of two back-to-back years with more than $300 million at the domestic box office and three number one box office hits in the past four months speaks for itself. They are tireless marketers and demonstrate a tremendous enthusiasm and creativity, not to mention results, in their efforts. We couldn't be happier."
"This deal is consistent with our motion picture strategy of organically growing our slate in a cost-effective way," said Block. "We've enjoyed our previous collaborations with Sam and Adam, and we are enthusiastic about teaming up with Element on films which are sure to be as provocative and innovative as their previous projects have been."
The deal was negotiated for Element by Marc Schaberg, Element's Chief Operating Officer, and Randy Winograd, SBE Entertainment Group's Chief Financial Officer, and for Lionsgate by Block and Lionsgate General Counsel and EVP Corporate Operations Wayne Levin.
Element and Lionsgate have previously collaborated on two motion pictures, both financed and produced by Element for distribution by Lionsgate. WAITING a ribald teen comedy staring Ryan Reynolds, was released by Lionsgate last October. The film was produced for under $3 million and earned more than $16 million at the box office. The second film is FIVE FINGERS, a contemporary thriller starring Laurence Fishburne and Ryan Phillippe, to be released by Lionsgate in the fall of 2006.
The first film to be produced by Element under the new agreement is from the Lionsgate development slate. THE PROM, a romantic teen comedy, will mark John Chu's feature film directorial debut. The film will start principal photography in New Orleans in early June with cast to be announced soon. Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate President of Productions, and Nazarian will executive produce. Element Films International will introduce THE PROM to international buyers during the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.
Element has previously developed, financed and produced six motion pictures, including DOWN IN THE VALLEY starring Ed Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, Bruce Dern and David Morse; WAITING starring Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Justin Long, and Luis Guzman; FRESHMAN ORIENTATION, starring John Goodman; EVIL REMAINS starring Estella Warren, Ashley Scott and Daniel Gilles; FIVE FINGERS; and THE LAST TIME, a comedic-drama currently in post production, starring Michael Keaton and Brendon Fraser.
Sam Nazarian is a producer, real estate financier, hotelier and restaurateur. He co-founded Element with Adam Rosenfelt in 2003.
Rosenfelt previously produced the independent films THE THIRD WHEEL, a romantic comedy starring Luke Wilson and Ben Affleck, distributed by Miramax; and AMERICAN GIRL, a comedy starring Jena Malone and Alicia Witt, for MGM.
Element Films, a subsidiary of SBE Entertainment Group, is committed to financing and producing motion pictures in the $10-20 million dollar range for theatrical distribution. Element also strategically partners with other production entities and studios on select motion pictures. Element is also the principal partner in LA Squared, the Louisiana-based film fund. The fund is a combination of private equity, public financing, bank debt and Louisiana state tax credits. The partners are Element's CEO Sam Nazarian, HIS Entertainment's Stavros Merjos, Element President Adam Rosenfelt, and Malcolm Petal of The Louisiana Institute of Technology, founded by Petal. Louisiana's venture arm, the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, is also involved in the production equity fund.
THE PROM joins an upcoming Lionsgate slate that includes Trent Cooper's LARRY THE CABLE GUY: HEALTH INSPECTOR (March 24), the inspirational AKEELAH AND THE BEE, starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer (April 28), the provocative Sundance sensation HARD CANDY (April 14), Lionsgate's first entry in the Spanish-language feature film marketplace, LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO, starring telenovela sensation Barbara Mori (April 14) and the horror film See No Evil, starring WWE superstar Kane (May 19).
Lionsgate is the leading independent filmed entertainment studio. It is a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library is a valuable source of recurring revenue and a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the globe.
Web site: http://www.lionsgate.com/