Lionsgate Acquires U.S. Distribution Rights to Animated Film Early Man From StudioCanal and Aardman Animation
Film Will Be Released by Company’s Summit Entertainment Label
Lionsgate (NYSE: LFG.A, LGF.B), a premier next generation global content leader, today announced it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the animated comedy adventure Early Man from Canal+ Group’s STUDIOCANAL and leading production company Aardman. The film will be released by the Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label. Lionsgate will also represent licensing and merchandising for the film in the territory. The last collaboration between Lionsgate, STUDIOCANAL and Aardman resulted in the critically-acclaimed, Academy Award®-nominated Shaun The Sheep Movie.
Early Man is directed by Nick Park (Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit films) and will be released in the U.S. on February 16, 2018 following Studiocanal’s European release. The film was supported by the British Film Institute (BFI) with National Lottery funding.
“We’re excited to be working again with our longtime partner STUDIOCANAL and reuniting with our friends at Aardman,” said Lionsgate Co-Chief Operating Officer and President of the Motion Picture Group Steve Beeks. “We truly enjoyed collaborating with them on Shaun The Sheep Movie, which earned an Oscar nomination for best animated feature, and we look forward to bringing Nick’s great new family adventure to our audiences.”
“We are delighted to be working with Aardman again, one of the most accomplished production studios in the world, following the global success of Shaun and to also continue our relationship with key partner Lionsgate,” said Didier Lupfer, Chairman and CEO, STUDIOCANAL. “This is a great opportunity to bring another incredible animated feature from Nick Park to moviegoers worldwide, and we’re excited that Early Man will join Lionsgate’s blockbuster slate in the U.S.”
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with STUDIOCANAL and Lionsgate, two powerhouse companies, on Nick’s hilarious new film,” said Aardman’s Co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton. “Nick, the cast and the rest of our filmmakers have created a prehistoric comedy in which we take great pride.”
Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how plucky caveman Dug, along with sidekick Hognob, unites his tribe against the mighty Bronze Age in a battle to beat them at their own game. Early Man unleashes an unforgettable cast of hilarious new characters and marks Nick Park’s first feature film since Academy Award® winning Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit.
Early Man features voices from a star-studded cast including Academy Award® winner Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Theory of Everything and Les Miserables) who plays Dug, Tom Hiddleston (Thor and The Avengers franchise, High-Rise, King Kong: Skull Island) Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, Cyberbully, Doctor Who and forthcoming X-Men: New Mutants) and Timothy Spall (Harry Potter series, Alice in Wonderland) alongside other exciting British comedy talent. STUDIOCANAL will distribute the film in the UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
Redmayne is represented by CAA, United Agents, Parseghian Planco and Untitled Entertainment. Williams is represented by Louise Johnston and WME. Hiddleston is represented by WME and Hamilton Hodell.
Lionsgate will also distribute STUDIOCANAL’s thriller The Commuter in the U.S. The film stars Liam Neeson and is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from a script by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi.
The partnership between Lionsgate and STUDIOCANAL includes STUDIOCANAL’s distribution of Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films in Germany, Australia and New Zealand while Lionsgate handles STUDIOCANAL’s vast film library in North America.
Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) is a vertically integrated next generation global content leader with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, premium pay television networks, home entertainment, global distribution and sales, interactive ventures and games and location-based entertainment.
With the acquisition of Starz, Lionsgate adds to its portfolio of businesses the flagship STARZ premium pay network serving 24.3 million subscribers and the STARZ ENCORE platform with 31 million subscribers. The combined company will operate five over-the-top (OTT) streaming services and the STARZ app delivering content directly to consumers.
The Company’s feature film business spans eight labels and includes the blockbuster The Hunger Games franchise, the Now You See Me series, the box office smash La La Land, which won six Academy Awards®, the hit franchise sequel John Wick: Chapter Two, double Oscar winner Hacksaw Ridge, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, The Shack, Saban’s Power Rangers, CBS Films/Lionsgate’s Hell or High Water, Roadside Attractions' critically-acclaimed Manchester by the Sea, Codeblack Films’ breakout concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Pantelion Films’ Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S., and recent breakout hit How To Be A Latin Lover.
One of the largest independent television businesses in the world, Lionsgate’s slate of premium quality series encompasses nearly 90 shows on more than 40 different networks. These include the ground-breaking Orange is the New Black, the fan favorite Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show, the hit drama The Royals, the acclaimed Casual, the breakout success Greenleaf, the network reality shows Kicking & Screaming and the eagerly-anticipated Candy Crush, and hit STARZ series including Outlander, Black Sails, Survivor’s Remorse and Power, the second highest-rated premium pay television series of 2016.
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of more than 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment and Starz brands are synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
STUDIOCANAL is Europe’s leader in production, right acquisition, distribution and international sales of feature films and TV series. STUDIOCANAL operates directly in all three major European markets, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. STUDIOCANAL has fully-financed recent box office hits like Paddington, Shaun the Sheep and Non-Stop. Upcoming films backed by STUDIOCANAL include The Commuter featuring Liam Neeson, and Nick Park's stop-motion movie Early Man, with Aardman Studios.
STUDIOCANAL is actively developing and distributing high-end TV series through its network of award-winning production companies including Tandem Productions in Germany (Crossing Lines, Spotless), the UK’s RED Production Company (Happy Valley) and BAMBÚ PRODUCCIONES (Grand Hotel, Velvet).
Additionally, STUDIOCANAL owns one of the most important film libraries in the world, with more than 5,000 international titles.
STUDIOCANAL’s parent company, CANAL+ Group, is fully-owned by Vivendi, a global media and content production and distribution group.
Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) co-founded and run by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is a world leader in animation. It produces feature films, series, advertising and digital entertainment for both the domestic and international market. Their multi-award winning productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm that reflects the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the very special people who make up the Aardman team. The studio’s work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning and amusing independent and commercial productions. Nick Park is a director of Aardman and is credited with the creation of Wallace & Gromit and Creature Comforts. He is the winner of four Academy Awards® and five BAFTA Awards.
The BFI Film Fund supports first-class British filmmaking from talent and project development, through production, to audience development across exhibition, distribution and international sales. With over £50 million of National Lottery funding to invest each year, the BFI is the UK's largest public investor in film.
Films supported by the BFI include last year’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner and BAFTA-winning I, Daniel Blake directed by Ken Loach and the Jury Prize award-winning and BAFTA-nominated American Honey by filmmaker Andrea Arnold; Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom and Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, the opening and closing galas respectively at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival; Viceroy’s House from Gurinder Chadha, which celebrated its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival; and Lady Macbeth directed by William Oldroyd, released on 28 April following its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and UK premiere at last year’s BFI London Film Festival.
Highly anticipated films backed by the BFI include Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here and Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch, both premiering at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in Competition and Directors’ Fortnight respectively; Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, winner of the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic at Sundance 2017 and screened in Panorama at Berlin; Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete; Clio Barnard’s Dark River; Andy Serkis’ Breathe; Sophie Fiennes’ Grace Jones - The Musical of My Life; Nick Park’s Early Man; Paddy Considine’s Journeyman; Lucy Cohen’s Fly Away; Michael Pearce’s Beast; Peter Mackie Burns’ Daphne; Thomas Clay’s Fanny Lye Delivr’d; Haifaa Al Mansour’s A Storm in the Stars and Mercedes Grower’s Brakes.
The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:
· Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
· Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
· Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK - investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
· Promoting British film and talent to the world
· Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences