Buena Vista International (BVI) plans to set up its own theatrical distribution outfit in Venezuela from January 31, 2001, ending an eight-year sub-distribution deal with leading local distributor, Cines Unidos.

In addition, the new outfit will handle titles from Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks following an agreement between The Walt Disney Company, Venezuela and UIP.

However, Venezuelan distributor Rodven will continue to handle the home video release of BVI product in the territory.

The new outfit, which will be integrated into The Walt Disney Company's operations in the country, will be headed by veteran executive Anibal Codebo. "This move is a step towards strengthening Disney's presence in the country," said Luis Casas, general manager of The Walt Disney Company, Venezuela.

Elsewhere in Latin America, BVI runs joint operations with Columbia TriStar, with the exception of Argentina where BVI's Latin American headquarters are located.