French mini-major EuropaCorp has secured a $450m, five-year credit facility with US financiers J.P. Morgan, SunTrust Bank and OneWest Bank.
The facility will be used to finance EuropaCorp’s slate of English-language films, as well as fund costs related to the creation of is US distributor Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution (RED) earlier this year.
“This new credit facility illustrates the increased confidence in EuropaCorp’s credit quality and financial solidity. It is a major success as it increases significantly EuropaCorp’s capacities to produce and distribute a wider range of films,” EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert said in a statement.
“After the creation of Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution USA LLC earlier this year that allowed us to fully control our distribution in the US and maximise the visibility for our films, this facility finances our strategy for the next five years.”
J.P. Morgan managing director and head of the entertainment industries group David Shaheen said: “EuropaCorp’s management team has demonstrated a true commitment to high calibre film production and we are fortunate to be a part of their significant expansion into the market.
Briefing journalists at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes on Friday, Lambert said Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution (RED) would distribute 16 to 18 films a year in the US. Made up of EuropaCorp and Relativity’s two slates.
He said the first EuropaCorp film to be released under the new banner would be the upcoming Taken 3, which is due for delivery in early 2015.
“All of other commercial films up until pictures like Lucy have already been sold,” commented Lambert.
A new US-based acquisition team was currently being put together for RED although he said it was too early announce details of the executives involved.
Under the current strategy, EuropaCorp will rachet up international, commercial English-language fare to eight to nine titles a year and scale back on French-language productions, to three to four a year.
Quizzed by a French journalist on how this would be perceived by the French film industry, Lambert said. “It’s not because we are distributing our movies in the US that we are a US company. We remain a French company based in Paris and all of our films are produced out of France. The important thing for France is that production continues out of France… we’ve got six to seven productions that will start rolling this year.”
Lambert said TV production remained a cornerstone of EuropeCorp’s strategy and said it was possible that both Lucy and Taken could become TV series but that it was too early confirm right now.
He also revealed that a new EuropaCorp TV team was being set up in Los Angeles to focus on US TV production.
“The only news about Taken 3 is that nobody is going to be taken this year,” he said with a laugh.