French and US majors Gaumont and Columbia TriStar Films havedecided not to renew a joint distribution venture they created in 2004. GaumontColumbia TriStar Film France was launched in July of 2004 for a period of threeyears and, according to a Gaumont press release Thursday, the partners havedecided to go their separate ways when the agreement reaches its term in 2007.

The press release notes that "given the increasing volumeof films distributed by Gaumont and Columbia in a more and more competitiveenvironment, the two partners have decided, by common accord, to regain theirautonomy with the continuing goal of optimizing the release of each film."

Since its creation, the joint-venture has released more than70 films including Spiderman 2 ,L'Enquete Corse,36 Quai Des Orfevres ,Palais Royal, Je Vous Trouve Tres Beau, Hitch, Closer, The Da Vinci Code and OSS 117 . The combined company is currentlyat the top of the distributors list in France with nearly 18m admissions andwill likely retain its spot with yesterday's release of Casino Royale .

In July2007, both companies will create new, independent distribution structures.Prior to its coupling with Columbia, Gaumont was partnered with Disney viaGaumont Buena Vista International for ten years from 1993-2003.