Universal Pictures has teamed up with The Arenas Group, an advertising, PR and talent management firm focused on the US Latino market, to form Arenas Entertainment, a new film label to acquire, produce, finance, market and distribute films for Hispanic audiences worldwide.
The deal was struck to form the company by Marc Shmuger, vice chairman of Universal Pictures, and Santiago Pozo, founder and president of The Arenas Group. Pozo will be chief executive officer of the new venture.
Universal holds an equity stake in the new entity alongside Spanish venture capital group Marco Polo Investments. All films produced or acquired by the new group will be co-financed by Universal and Arenas Entertainment under a five year deal, after which the studio has an option to increase its financial stake in Arenas Entertainment.
Arenas plans to provide a home for the rapidly expanding Latino film-making community, distributing four or five films a year. The 13 year-old Arenas Group has previously consulted on marketing Universal films to a Latino audience including The Milagro Beanfield War, the Jurassic Park and Mummy series and Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
"Santiago and his team at The Arenas Group have played a key role in our marketing efforts to the US Latino audience for many years," said Shmuger in a statement. "This new venture is evidence of our belief in Arenas as an organisation an in the Latino audience as a growing and valuable moviegoing demographic in the coming years."
Latino talents whose films are on show at the forthcoming Sundance film festival include Victor Nunez (Coastlines), Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) and Eric Eason (Manito).