After months of speculation the Swiss outposts of US majors 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. have announced that they will release their films from Oxtober 1 under the joint banner Fox-Warner.

According to an official release, the new distribution outfit's operations will be coordinated from Warner Bros.' offices in Zurich and will be run by Leo Baumgartner (Managing Director) und Marc Maeder (Deputy Managing Director).

Fox's Swiss branch was set up in Switzerland in 1923, initially as a subsidiary of Fox France, and then became 20th Century Fox Switzerland in 1942. It was the only major film distribution company based in Geneva and scored a market share of 8.58% (with over 1.3m admissions) to be the fourth most successful distributor last year.

Established in Switzerland since the 1930s, Warner Bros. posted a 5.39% market share in 2000 from such releases as The Perfect Storm and Pokemon.

Until three years ago, Fox had also distributed releases from Columbia TriStar in Switzerland. Columbia now has its films handled in this territory by the local outpost of Buena Vista International whose release of Erin Brockovich was the third most successful film at the Swiss box office last year with 545,327 admissions.