StudioCanal Buys Minority Stake In The Picture Company, Signs Partners Andrew Rona & Alex Heineman To New 5-Year Deal – Cannes
EXCLUSIVE: StudioCanal has acquired a minority stake in The Picture Company, the production venture run by partners Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman that has generated a steady stream of genre and action hits under a first-look deal with Europe’s leading production and distribution studio.
Aside from the stake in the company, StudioCanal has closed a new five-year overall deal with the producers. The goal of all this is to scale up The Picture Company to be an even more prolific supplier of films with global appeal. The relationship between the companies began in 2015. Rona and Heineman will continue to make films, and lean in on TV series as well that they generate and that are part of StudioCanal’s vast library.
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Deal was closed at Cannes by StudioCanal CEO Anna Marsh.
Marsh said the development of The Picture Company as a major Hollywood-based supplier for StudioCanal coincides with a time of major growth for the European powerhouse in the past four years. Most of its other acquisitions have come with European-based companies like Dutch-based Benelux, and The Picture Company is their primary content generator in the U.S., even though they shoot most of their movies in Europe.
Heineman and Rona have over 20 film and TV projects percolating. The Liam Neeson-starrer Non-Stop trails only Paddington Bear as StudioCanal’s biggest-grossing film, and other hits include the Neeson-starrer The Commuter, released by Lionsgate; and the Netflix thriller Gunpowder Milkshake, which has a sequel and TV series in development. In post-production is the Amazon action thriller Role Play with Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo; the Neeson-starrer Retribution at Lionsgate; and the horror thriller Baghead, the latter an expansion of the short film that stars Planet of the Apes’ Freya Allan.
Looking ahead, The Picture Company and Studiocanal has the James McAvoy-starrer Control that Red and Flightplan’s Robert Schwentke will direct. That film, which becomes the fifth to be shot in Berlin by the productions in association with Studio Bablesberg, is based on the Shipworm podcast created by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie. Another in the genre category is the elevated, fact-based Chris Basler-scripted Hellish Nell, about the famous medium Helen Duncan, the last woman to be tried for witchcraft in 1944.
Marsh said she is “incredibly proud to solidify closer ties with Andrew and Alex who are talented, loyal and visionary producers who have delivered for us time and time again. They work tirelessly to strive for excellence in their filmmaking with a shared ambition with StudioCanal to tell broad commercial stories with exceptional talent for global audiences. I am excited to work with The Picture Company to expand their slate beyond film and into TV series with many exciting projects already in development in this space. The film and TV slate is exactly what it should be; diverse and exciting and it inspires us all to continue producing quality European content with worldwide appeal and together with the Canal+ Group we are destined for great things. It’s a pleasure to welcome Andrew and Alex to the team and to make this announcement here in Cannes together.”
Rona and Heineman told Deadline they are “thrilled to continue our incredible partnership with StudioCanal and now truly feel like part of the family. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship over many years to come,” they said.
Marsh, Sylvie Arnould-Martin, Jeremy Gabbay, Ron Halpern and Shana Eddy Grouf worked on the deal for StudioCanal, with chairman Maxime Saada.
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