Newly recapitalised Italian distributor Eagle Pictures has sealed a two picture deal with leading LA sales agent Summit Entertainment for horror picture The Calling and Artisan Entertainment comedy Novocaine starring Steve Martin and Helena Bonham Carter.
Summit's Patrick Wachsberger implied that the deal would signal a longterm relationship with Eagle, which received a boost earlier this year when private equity financier B&S Private Equity Group took a 20% stake. Eagle is also planning to float on the Italian stock exchange later in the year. "This is the start of a new relationship for Summit which I anticipate will be the beginning of a very prosperous and longterm partnership for us in Italy."
Eagle's plans to be a major theatrical buyer come at an opportune time in the depressed Italian independent sector, which has seen former powerhouse Cecchi Gori in financial trouble and Miramax International pacting with sister company Buena Vista International to distribute its own pictures in the territory.
The Summit deal is one of several Eagle completed at AFM recently. Headed by Stefano Dammico, Eagle recently appointed former SACIS chief Giampaolo Sodano as president and Ernesto Grassi, formerly of UIP, as theatrical sales manager. The company was founded in 1986 and its acquisitions have included Summer Of Sam from Buena Vista Film Sales and Cube from Trimark Pictures International.
The Calling, produced by Germany's Constantin Film, stars Laura Harris as a woman who discovers that her son is possessed by the devil. Directed by German commercials director Richard Caesar, it recently wrapped on UK locations.
Novocaine will be directed by David Atkins (the screenwriter of Arizona Dream) and star Martin as a dentist caught up as a suspect in a murder case of one of his patients.