A new press release from Lionsgate this morning confirms that The Punisher 2 will be directed by Lexi Alexander, will star Ray Stevenson and will start shooting in Montreal this October. The press release follows:
As part of the continued growth of its television and motion picture production businesses, Lionsgate, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, today announced a four-year, $400 million filmed entertainment slate financing agreement with Societe generale de financement du Quebec (SGF), the provincial government’s investment arm that has a $2 billion investment portfolio. As part of its continued effort to promote production of foreign films and television series in Quebec, SGF will finance up to 35% of production costs of television and feature film productions shot in Quebec for a four-year period for an aggregate investment of up to $140 million. The transaction will encompass a broad range of future Lionsgate television and feature film productions in the Province of Quebec, including the planned October 2007 production of Lionsgate’s next Punisher film, starring Ray Stevenson (from HBO’s hit series Rome) and directed by Oscar ® nominee Lexi Alexander.
“We are delighted to partner with SGF in the financing of our growth,” said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. “This transaction reflects our commitment to form innovative and cost-effective alliances to continue expanding our television and motion picture production.”
“SGF is pleased to participate with Lionsgate in this exciting venture which will have a significant impact on Quebec’s filmed entertainment industry,” said SGF’s Chairman of the Board, President and General Manager, Pierre Shedleur. “We anticipate the creation of more than 6,700 full-time equivalent jobs, generating total wages of $270 million”.
Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Raymond Bachand, saluted this key investment. “This investment will be highly beneficial for Quebec’s filmed entertainment industry. Foreign productions are vital for the growth of this sector and for the continued development of the industry’s workforce in Quebec.”
Lionsgate noted that the agreement maintains its historic commitment to major production initiatives in Canada. Under the arrangement, SGF will finance up to 35% of the budgeted costs of television and feature film productions shot in Quebec. The announcement follows Lionsgate’s May 2007 formation of a $400 million, 23-picture theatrical slate financing agreement led by Goldman, Sachs & Co., JP Morgan Chase and Jefferies & Co. as well as SGF’s investment in the $212,5 million financing of Joel Silver’s Dark Castle slate in 2006.
On the Lionsgate side, the deal was orchestrated by Lionsgate General Counsel and EVP Corporate Operations Wayne Levin, EVP Structured Finance Mark Manuel, and the law firms Heenan Blaikie LLP and O’Melveny & Myers LLP. The deal was referred to Lionsgate through John Burke of the law and lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
On the SGF side, the deal was driven by SGF’s Legal Counsel Donna Benedek, and Senior Vice-President, Investments Support and Management, Yves Bourque. Joey Mastrogiuseppe of the law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain, LLP and Kaye Scholer, LLP advised SGF.