Paramount Pictures International and Transmission have re-signed the distribution pact that has seen them jointly acquire, market and release 14 commercial crossover films in Australia and New Zealand in the past three years.
Painted Veil was the first film handled under the deal and one of the most recent was huge hit and Oscar winner The King’s Speech.
The relationship has yielded more than A$50m in revenue from Australia and New Zealand, although A$28m is attributable to The King’s Speech.
Mike Selwyn, managing director of Paramount Pictures Australia, described the film’s success as “a nice validation” of the arrangement between the two companies but today confirmed to ScreenDaily that the deal would have been renewed regardless of the Oscar winner.
Richard Payten, joint managing director of Transmission Films alongside Andrew Mackie, said similar: “Even without The King’s Speech it’s been a great three years. The fact that our renewal came up at the time this film was in the middle of its amazing season is icing on the cake. There was no way we would not renew but that film has been very very good for everyone.”
The King’s Speech was in the deal because Transmission has shares in producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning’s See-Saw Films and an “understanding” is in place that the independent distributor will release all See-Saw titles. See-Saw, which also has shares in Transmission, is now in production on Steve McQueen’s Shame.
Upcoming films under the Transmission/Paramount deal include David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, Andrew Adamson’s Mr Pip, Jonathan Teplitzky’s Burning Man and The Guard, which was in Sundance.
Those making decisions on behalf of Paramount include head of international acquisitions Matt Brodley, Selwyn and New Zealand head Pete Garner.
The smallest release so far has been Cairo Time on 12 prints but now that the deal has matured, Payten expects Paramount to only sign off on films that will be released on more than 40 screens. This is how many An Education went out on.
At the outset the aim was to handle about 10 Australian and international films annually and this remains the intention for the next three years under what is, according to Selwyn, “essentially the same deal”.
Transmission has handled 16 theatrical releases independently of Paramount since the deal was struck in early 2008, including Boy, White Ribbon, Agora and Fish Tank. On some of these films all rights were not available and this is one of Paramount’s requirements.
Paramount, in turn, picks up some Australian films independently, including the highly successful Tomorrow When The War Began, the upcoming Bait 3D and Wasted On The Young, which opened last Thursday to disappointing results given its quality.
The only downside of the pact, said Selwyn, is when a film does not work in the marketplace “but there’s nothing new about that.”