New Line International (NLI) has closed a round of package deals on its upcoming product and is finalising a new partnership in Italy with start-up distribution company Nexo Pictures.

Nexo, which was formed by cinema-owner Ernesto Di Sarro, contingent on the New Line deal, has taken eight pictures initially - Frequency, The Cell, Town And Country, 15 Minutes, Lost Souls, Final Destination, Knockaround Guys and Boiler Room. It also has options on certain others.

"Like Cecchi Gori and Medusa, he owns his own theatres," explained NLI president and New Line co-chairman of worldwide marketing Rolf Mittweg who has been negotiating with Di Sarro for some time. Mittweg had previously dealt with Cecchi Gori, but late last year was forced to take three 1998 pictures (The Wedding Singer, Rush Hour and Blade) back from the financially troubled company and release them through sister company Warner Bros. A deal with Medusa Film followed.

"It's Ernesto's first foray into distribution and he's taking all the product being released by New Line domestically this year," added Mittweg.

Recapitalised indie Eagle Pictures had approached Mittweg at AFM but he said that the negotiations with Di Sarro were too far advanced by that stage to entertain any other offers. Eagle has stepped into the breech left by Cecchi Gori and has already secured film packages from Summit Entertainment and Intermedia. Miramax International, which had also traditionally dealt with Cecchi Gori, set up its own distribution in Italy last year in partnership with sister company Buena Vista International.

NLI has output deals to the end of 2001 with Kinowelt in Germany, Entertainment in the UK, Aurum in Spain and Svensk Filmindustri in Scandinavia as well as in a host of smaller territories.

Other package deals closed at or since AFM include:

  • Benelux: Mittweg sold a large package including Blow, Bamboozled, Knockaround Guys and Unconditional Love to Paradiso; RCV took The Cell and Adam Sandler-starrer Little Nicky.
  • France: NLI's regular partner Metropolitan Filmexport is in the final stages of taking all New Line films in production until the end of 2001 including The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Little Nicky, The Cell and Blow.
  • Japan: Gaga Communications which had bought The Cell, The Invisible Circus and Detroit Rock City in February took two more New Line movies Frequency and Final Destination.


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