Mutual Film Co has closed a three year, nine-picture output deal with Italy's dynamic distribution outfit Eagle Pictures kicking off with Tomb Raider, the Paramount Pictures action adventure which Mutual is co-financing.
Eagle's deal also includes any Tomb Raider sequels and indicates aggressive renewed activity by Mutual's Gary Levinsohn, who is reportedly close to signing a new producing partner after Mark Gordon left the company last year.
The deal was struck between Levinsohn and Mutual's international president Pamela Pickering and Eagle chiefs Stefano and Ciro Dammicco. It expands the pipeline of product secured by Eagle from companies such as Escape Artists, Miramax International, Intermedia, Summit Entertainment and Helkon International Pictures.
The big budget Tomb Raider, which is set for a June 15 opening in the US, is directed by Simon West and stars Angelina Jolie as the interactive video-game character Lara Croft. Producers are Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin.
Mutual's partners Toho Towa and TeleMunchen will distribute in their home territories of Japan and Germany. Its other partner, the BBC, will acquire UK TV rights.
Meanwhile, Mutual sold Korean rights to Tube Entertainment, one of the leading Korean distributor/financiers. The company has a mix of Korean, Japanese and Hollywood films - such as What Women Want from Icon Entertainment International - on its slate.
In May last year, Mutual secured a $200m revolving credit line allowing the company to develop and finance projects without necessarily having to wait for a greenlight from a Hollywood studio partner. The credit line was negotiated with a banking consortium led by Union Bank Of California based on the backing of the three partners.
Mutual co-financed and sold on a number of studio movies in the last three years including Primary Colours, Man On The Moon and Isn't She Great from Universal Pictures, plus Hard Rain and Wonder Boys from Paramount. However, Mutual-originated productions such as Saving Private Ryan, Paulie and The Patriot were fully financed and distributed by studios and were not made available to foreign independents.