The UK's FilmFour and US studio Warner Bros Pictures have formed a long-term co-production alliance, FilmFour chief executive Paul Webster and Warner president of worldwide production Lorenzo di Bonaventura have announced.

The deal, aimed at achieving FilmFour's long-cherished goal of making bigger-budget pictures, starts with Gillian Armstrong's Charlotte Gray, starring Cate Blanchett. The WW2-set story, budgeted at $22m, is expected to be FilmFour's largest production to date.

Warner is distributing in North America, with FilmFour handling overseas. Warner may release films in selected markets on a title-by-title basis.

In contrast to FilmFour's now defunct deal with US producer Arnon Milchan and France's TF1, which envisaged the partners each originating projects, the pact is expected to cover titles generated by FilmFour.

The move comes as Warner is mulling the launch of a US specialist division ' a long-cherished ambition of di Bonaventura which looks set to crystalize under Barry Meyer and Alan Horn's new studio regime.