Lionsgate, a premier next-generation global content leader, and CBS Films, a multifaceted feature film studio releasing quality films in all genres, have formed a multi-year distribution partnership which will begin with the 2015 release of the teen comedy The DUFF, the two companies announced today.
Under the agreement, CBS Films will acquire or produce the films and shepherd the marketing efforts with Lionsgate overseeing distribution initiatives across all media, including theatrical and home entertainment platforms. In addition, Lionsgate will handle exclusive international sales for all titles under the agreement with the exception of The DUFF.
The agreement gives CBS Films access to Lionsgate's distribution prowess as well as its global sales infrastructure, while Lionsgate will receive a new and consistent source of branded quality wide release films for its theatrical and home entertainment pipelines. Outside of this new strategic arrangement, CBS Films will continue to acquire, produce and self-distribute its own limited releases.
Here's what CBS Films President Terry Press had to say in a statement regarding the agreement.
"Making movies is only half of the equation-today's marketplace demands a strategic approach to marketing and distribution that is fluid and creative, and no company has demonstrated more vision and innovation than Lionsgate. As we build our homegrown slate and expand our efforts in the acquisition space, we're thrilled to partner with the outstanding Lionsgate team on a plan that provides the flexibility to handle these ambitions."
Lionsgate Co-Chief Operating Officer and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks had this to say in his statement.
"CBS Films has emerged as a creative force that will serve as a commercially exciting and reliable source of quality mainstream theatrical releases for years to come. Our partnership unites two companies with powerful brands, complementary strengths and similar entrepreneurial cultures in a distribution agreement that extends the terrific Lionsgate/CBS relationship."
Lionsgate and CBS are also partnered in TVGN currently being rebranded as POP. Additionally, the two companies joined forces on the critically acclaimed romantic comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
The first film to be released under the new agreement is the high school comedy The DUFF, based on the bestselling novel by Kody Keplinger and directed by Ari Sandel from a screenplay by Josh A. Cagan. McG, Mary Viola and Susan Cartsonis produced The DUFF with Lane Bishop serving as executive producer.
The film follows Bianca (Mae Whitman), a high school senior whose world is shattered when a charming jock (Robbie Amell) informs her that the student body knows her as The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels and Bianca Santos).
Set for release in early 2015, the film also stars Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman, Ken Jeong and Allison Janney. The first teaser trailer for The DUFF will appear in theaters on Lionsgate's global blockbuster The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 next week.