Pathé’s UK theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution to be exclusively executed by Twentieth Century Fox.

Twentieth Century Fox (TCF) has taken over exclusive control of Pathe’s UK theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution activities, a business that was previously split between TCF and Warner Bros.

Under the terms of the new distribution agreement with TCF, Pathé UK will continue to devise the marketing campaigns for each of its films and to fund the P&A for each release. 

Since April 2009 Pathe had teamed with Warner in a deal which saw the US studio theatrically distribute Pathe productions in the UK and Ireland with Fox handling Pathe films in the home entertainment market.

The move is the latest in Pathe’s bid to streamline its UK operations. Since 2009 the company has shifted its focus towards development and production and has significantly cut back on third party acquisitions. In that time it has become increasingly involved with Fox as a financing and production partner. In June 2009 Pathe and Fox Searchlight announced a three-year deal to co-finance and produce films from British director Danny Boyle.

Francois Ivernel, Pathé Executive Vice President, and Cameron McCracken, Pathé Managing Director UK issued a joint statement: “We’ve enjoyed a very happy relationship with Warner Bros over the past couple of years, but given the ever-increasing complexity of distribution windows and media platforms, we felt it made sense for one studio to manage the licensing process across all rights.”

“The decision was a tough one, but we’re delighted to be able to broaden and strengthen our relationship with Fox and to know that our upcoming slate of films has found such an enthusiastic home. We are convinced that our strategy gives our filmmakers the best of both worlds - by managing the whole process from development, through production to marketing and release, Pathé is able to provide both a bespoke independent service and access to Fox’s studio muscle,” the statement continued.

Keith Feldman, president of TCF Home Entertainment International and Paul Higginson, Executive Vice President EMEA theatrical, jointly commented: “Cameron Saunders and Robert Price, Fox’s UK Managing Directors for Theatrical and Home Entertainment respectively, are excited about leveraging their exceptional exhibition and retail relationships to bring Pathé’s critically-acclaimed films to British and Irish audiences.”

Olswang acted as legal counsel for Pathe with Victoria Gaskell, who also advised on the company’s deal with Warner Bros in 2009, leading the team.”Our long-standing relationship with Olswang enabled them to understand the complexities of the deal and act rapidly to secure this new arrangement,” said McCracken.

Pathé and TCF’s 2011 awards contender 127 Hours was theatrically distributed in the UK by Warner Bros.

Pathé UK’s first production of 2011 is Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, which started principal photography in London on Jan 31.