Paramount Pictures has created the new Paramount Worldwide Acquisitions Group (PWAG), a centralised acquisitions and local productions arm that will service Paramount Pictures International and its worldwide territories as well as US-based Paramount Vantage.

PPI president Andrew Cripps and Paramount Vantage president Nick Meyer jointly announced the plans today.

Matt Brodlie, Paramount Vantage's senior vice president of production and acquisitions, will lead PWAG, reporting to Cripps and Meyer for PPI acquisitions and to newly appointed evp, production and acquisitions Guy Stodel, and Meyer for Vantage acquisitions.

The team will also include Los Angeles-based acquisitions and co-production vice president Joe Matukewicz; executive director of acquisitions and co-productions Ben Cotner; and director of acquisitions Mary John Frank; London-based acquisitions and co-productions vice president Berenice Fugard and director of acquisitions Alexei Boltho; and in France, director of acquisitions and co-productions Karen Adler.

This team will be responsible for acquiring films for distribution as well as looking for co-production opportunities across the globe.

These acquisitions, co-productions or local productions will initially be concentrated in the territories where Paramount has its own direct distribution: the UK, France, Spain, Australia, Japan and Latin America.

'This development gives us the opportunity to leverage a solid existing infrastructure to service the studio's acquisition needs on a global level,' Cripps and Meyer said in their joint statement. 'As the international marketplace continues to grow, this allows us the ideal structure to expand our activity in this area while fully utilizing the skill set of the accomplished team we have in place.'

Since being set up in January 2007 (following the downscaling of Paramount and Universal's international joint venture distribution companyUIP), PPI has already taken on several high-profile acquisitions - for instance, it pre-bought How To Lose Friends and Alienate People starring Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst for distribution in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Other projects in various territories include a Japanese remake of Ghost with producer Taka Ichise; backing the distribution joint venture Transmission in Australia (with films including My Talks With Dean Spanley and Paul Hogan-starring Road movie; also in Australia, partnered with Omnilab for the release of Bank Job and working on an untilted comedy with MTV Australia; a pre-buy of Latin American rigths to Carlos Carrera's Backyard (now in post); in Brazil, financing Bruno Barreto's Last Stop 174, Arnaldo Jabor's Supreme Happiness; and Rogerio Gomes' Aparecida; and in Spain creating an output deal with producer Andres Vicente Gomez to work on projects including Manolete starring Penelope Cruz and Adrien Brody.