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Lionsgate Bolsters Latino Fare

11 Jan, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Lionsgate has cut a deal with Mach 8, a leading U.S.-based source of Mexican cinema, to bring the company's Spanish-language movies to U.S. and Canadian homes.

The deal gives Lionsgate North American home video and video-on-demand distribution rights to Mach 8's 62-title catalog and all upcoming releases.

The acquisition marks Lionsgate's third foray into the Spanish-language entertainment market.

Last month, Lionsgate struck a deal with Panamax Films, the studio headed by ex-Telemundo chief Jim McNamara, to produce and acquire films for U.S. theatrical release.

A year ago, Lionsgate teamed with Venevision to release 12 to 20 Spanish-language movies per year directly to video in the United States.

“This is just another important element in our multifaceted strategy to address Latino audiences,” said Steve Beeks, president of Lionsgate. “There are 30 million people in the United States of Hispanic descent, and that number is expected to grow to 40 million in less than 10 years. This market is dramatically underserved, and we believe we can build a significant presence, very similar to what we have done with the urban market.”

The Mach 8 deal officially gets underway this spring, when the first titles are released on DVD. They include the acclaimed features Violento Amenecer, Pantera Negra, Cadenas and Conspiracion. The films will be released as single DVDs and in an assortment of boxed sets.

Beeks said more deals may be announced shortly.

“When we finally put all the pieces together, we will address virtually every aspect of filmed entertainment for Latinos,” he said.

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