Lionsgate Secures HIT, Xenon Content26 Mar, 2008 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Minimajor Lionsgate is expanding its footprint in the burgeoning Latino home entertainment market with the signing of an exclusive multiyear distribution agreement with Xenon Pictures, a key player in the Spanish-language and urban film markets.
Under the deal, Lionsgate will distribute more than 300 DVD titles from Xenon and the labels it operates in the United States, including Spanish-language market leader Televisa Home Entertainment. Lionsgate also will distribute a number of theatrical features Xenon has in the cards, including the hit Australian comedy Kenny, which opens in U.S. theaters this spring.
Xenon will continue to produce, acquire and market films, with Lionsgate providing sales and replenishment services. Xenon was previously distributed by Vivendi Entertainment, Universal Music Group's home entertainment division. Forty-one Xenon titles will remain with Vivendi until Jan. 1, 2009.
“The Xenon library builds upon a Spanish-language foundation established with our acquisition of other libraries and formation of other distribution agreements with a strong Spanish-language component,” said Lionsgate president Steve Beeks. “The partnership with Xenon extends both our Spanish-language and urban lines of business, two very important growth markets for Lionsgate.”
Xenon already has successfully released a select group of titles through Lionsgate, including Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror, according to Xenon marketing VP Kristi Alires.
Founded in 1986, Xenon Pictures is recognized in the industry for developing the nation's first label for independent black cinema. The company, under the direction of founder, president and CEO Leigh Savidge, has acquired and produced a wide spectrum of content in this genre, from the work of 1970s masters Melvin Van Peebles and Rudy Ray Moore to contemporary films from directors such as Tim Story (Barbershop).
In August 2002 Xenon partnered with Mexican media powerhouse Grupo Televisa to develop and distribute its domestic video brand, Televisa Home Entertainment. Xenon has since brought to market a wide range of programming, from classic TV series and top-rated Mexican telenovelas to theatrical features and documentaries on major Latin stars.
Most recently, Xenon brought to theaters the acclaimed Mexican film 7 Dias, about a young man's quest to bring rock bank U2 to his hometown. The title is now available on DVD.
Savidge, who for 18 years distributed Xenon product himself, praised Lionsgate's “thoughtful and thorough approach to the home entertainment space.”