Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group has signed a three-year marketing and distribution deal with CBS Films, under which Sony Pictures will handle international theatrical distribution of CBS Films productions as well as service worldwide distribution of the unit’s films in the home entertainment marketplace, it was announced today by Peter Schlessel, president, Worldwide Affairs for Sony Pictures, and Jeff Blake, chairman, Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing & Distribution. CBS Films will handle domestic theatrical distribution of all titles and retains rights in a limited number of foreign territories.
CBS Films was established in 2007 and the division plans to develop and produce four to six movies a year spanning all genres, with production budgets up to $50 million per film.
The distribution pact builds on the strong relationship shared between CBS Films and Sony, as the two companies collaborate to produce Faster, an action-thriller starring Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton, set to begin production in early 2010. The film, written by Joe and Tony Gayton, directed by George Tillman Jr. and produced by Castle Rock Entertainment’s Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer, along with Tony Gayton and Robert Teitel, will debut fall of 2010.
Commenting on the announcement, Blake said, “This deal allows us to increase our overseas output with more terrific motion pictures. We have tremendous respect for Amy Baer and know what kind of quality she and CBS Films will bring to the theatrical marketplace.”
Added Steven Bersch, President of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, “We are always looking for high quality motion pictures that we can distribute around the world. Our agreement with CBS Films gives us a steady stream of first-run theatrical product that will play exceptionally well abroad as well as in the worldwide home entertainment arena.”
Schlessel worked closely with Bersch and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Michael Helfand in negotiating the pact on behalf of Sony. The deal was negotiated on behalf of CBS Films by Bruce Tobey, Chief Operating Officer, and Rik Toulon, EVP and General Counsel.
CBS Films’ first release is Extraordinary Measures, an inspirational drama inspired by the true story of John Crowley, a man who defied conventional wisdom and great odds, and risked his family’s future to pursue a cure for his children’s life threatening disease. The film, starring Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell, produced by Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher and Carla Santos Shamberg, written by Robert Nelson Jacobs and directed by Tom Vaughan, will debut on January 22, 2010.
The Back-up Plan, a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Alex O’Loughlin is CBS Films’ second release and is slated for debut spring of 2010. The feature was written by Kate Angelo, produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch and directed by Alan Poul.
Beastly, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, written and directed by Daniel Barnz, will debut on July 30, 2010. The edgy teen romance, a modern adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” is produced by Susan Cartsonis.
In addition to Faster, the company is currently in development on a slate that includes such titles as Consent to Kill, an action-thriller based on the Mitch Rapp character from the best-selling Vince Flynn novels; The Station, a big screen adaptation of BOOM! Studios’ “Station” series by creator/writer Johanna Stokes; Gunsmoke, an action adventure based on the long running television dramatic series; My Fair Lady, a remake of the classic musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, to be co-developed with Columbia Pictures; the Susannah Grant-penned romantic drama I’ll Be There, a remake of the successful Korean film A Moment to Remember; Permission, a comedy written by Karen McCullah Lutz; and Get a Job, a comedy about a group of young college graduates who are compelled to lower their life expectations when they leave campus for the real world and today’s job market.