Patrice Theroux, former president of Motion Picture Distribution (MPD), is launching a new Toronto-based distribution outfit, it was announced today. Theroux will lead the filmed entertainment division of Entertainment One, Canada's largest home entertainment wholesaler.

Theroux's mandate is to expand Entertainment One's already aggressive move into distribution across several media. On July 5, the company completed its acquisition of UK-based distributor Contender Entertainment Group, set to expand from its home video base into theatrical in the coming months. The company also recently acquired US independent music label Koch Entertainment.

Speaking to Screendaily, Theroux said, 'This will be a global company, with a presence in the US, the UK and Canada. I've got the backing of a company with $600m in revenue. I plan on building it up very rapidly.'

Asked if the filmed entertainment division was modelled along the lines of his former employer MPD, with its Momentum and Aurum divisions in the UK and Spain respectively, Theroux said, 'I helped create MPD and my thinking is along those lines.'

Theroux also saw parallels with Polygram Filmed Entertainment in its multi-territory approach to rights acquisition. However, he said Entertainment One won't be getting into production except through pre-buys where a multi-territory rights deal will spread the risk. He said Canada would be an important part of that mix. 'I want to get going in Canadian distribution as soon as possible.'

Theroux's division will not limit itself to theatrical but also explore international rights deals on television programming. Contender is involved similarly in some children's programming out of the UK. 'We will pick up international rights on Canadian television and film productions. I definitely want a part of that,' he said.

Entertainment One's US presence will be mainly in home entertainment and broadcast licensing, with no plans to wade into the US theatrical market. 'For me historically at MPD and in my business plan, the [US distributors] are our partners in terms of content. I don't want to compete with my suppliers. We see more opportunity in building an international distribution and sales infrastructure.'

Asked if he foresaw Entertainment One competing with the likes of MPD for Canadian output deals from the US mini-majors and studio specialty divisions, Theroux said, 'As a distributor, you look for content where it's available. We'll have the discussions as the [deals] come available but the business plan is not predicated on output deals.'

Pressed for details of any forthcoming pre-buys, Theroux said it was too soon to have any arrangements. 'I am certain the phone will start ringing tomorrow.'