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Screen Media Repurposes 'Noel'

27 Jun, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Penelope Cruz in a scene from Noel

Screen Media Films Oct. 25 will mount a second retail effort for the 2004 holiday film Noel ($26.98 DVD).

Directed by Chazz Palminteri and starring Penelope Cruz, Susan Sarandon and Paul Walker, among others, Noel revolves around five New Yorkers whose disparate lives strangely intertwine as if by divine intervention on Christmas Eve.

The film was acquired at the Toronto Film Festival reportedly for $10 million by The Convex Group, which last November simultaneously released Noel in select theaters, on cable television (TNT) and on Flexplay expiring discs. The title also is available on Amazon.com.

Flexplay sales — like the technology — didn't pan out, and Noel was soon available again for home entertainment acquisition. Enter New York-based Screen Media Films, which through mutual contacts acquired the North American rights.

Four-year-old Screen Media distributes up to 24 titles annually through a recently reupped deal with Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Other pending releases include Strange Bedfellows with Paul Hogan (July 8) and One Last Dance (Aug. 23) with Patrick Swayze.

“There aren't that many big independent films available with big casts versus studio films that are held for their distribution system,” said Robert Baruc, president of Screen Media. “Noel is just the type of film we are going after. It is a seasonal film that will be watched every holiday. It is a film that will be watched more than once. To me, that is a good film.”

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