Columbia TriStar and Buena Vista International are to dissolve their joint venture in Colombia from Jan 1st, 2002.

Columbia TriStar is thought most likely to create an alliance with UIP and BVI will sub-distribute its product through the new joint venture. The move follows the split between the companies in Argentina last year.

BVI President Mark Zoradi told Screendaily that the reasons for split were simply that the market is so small and it made more sense to sub-distribute product via UIP.

A senior executive at Columbia TriStar International Distribution asserted that the joint ventures with BVI in Brazil and Mexico would remain intact.

In Argentina the split between the two companies was prompted by BVI's move into production via its three-way co-production alliance with Argentina's Patagonik Film Group and Artear TV network and Columbia TriStar's own exploration of co-productions with leading Argentine broadcaster, Telefe.

Colombia, with an estimated population of 38 million, has a mere 280 screens. Distributors include local giant CineColombia which owns and operates 126 screens and handles product from Fox, Warner Bros and New Line. On average, distributors in Colombia release a total of 150 films per year among which blockbusters reap the highest grosses. A hit can expect to attract 500,000 admissions at best. Titanic, however, achieved some two million admissions.