New York -- Mexico's Grupo Televisa has partnered with
independent film studio Lionsgate to launch Pantelion, a Latino-focused venture
scheduled to release eight to 10 films per year targeting the fast-growing
Hispanic movie-going crowd.
The new venture will be led by CEO Paul Presburger and chairman
Jim McNamara, who is also chairman of the premium movie channel Cine Latino. Terms
were not disclosed.
The concept behind Pantelion, announced at a Tuesday (Sept.
26) press conference here by Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer and
Grupo Televisa chairman and CEO Emilio AzcÃ¡rraga, is simple: To reach the
estimated 26 million U.S. Hispanics who represent more than 25% of frequent
movie-goers and are considered the fastest-growing segment of U.S. film
Although it is not a novel idea (other studios have been
created for this purpose), Pantelion's advantage lies in the marketing and
distribution muscle expected behind each theatrical release. In addition of
using the marketing prowess of Lionsgate, the venture has enlisted movie-theater
chain AMC as a distribution partner. AMC is commited to devoting entire theaters
to Latino-targeted films.
"If there is a Pantelion Film, we'll show it," said AMC
Theaters CEO Gerry Lopez, also at the press conference. Also expressing their
commitment to the new offerings were Cinemark and Regal Entertainment.
In addition to regular media buys on broadcast television,
radio, newspapers and magazines, Pantelion films will be heavily promoted on
McNamara's Cine Latino.
The first film to be released under the new venture is From Prada to Nada, a Latino spin on
Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility,
in which two spoiled sisters who have been left penniless after their father's
sudden death are forced to moove in with their estranged aunt in East Los
Angeles. Release date is Jan. 28, 2011.
In addition to producing U.S.-made films for American
audiences, Pantelion will also leverage the power of films already being made
in Latin America, particularly those hailing from Grupo Televisa.
"This is also a very good thing for us to be able to
distribute in the U.S. Televisa movies made in Mexico," said Televisa's Azcarraga,
who made an earlier but short-lived incursion into U.S. distribution with
A veteran of Spanish-language media, McNamara launched
independent production company Panamax Films in late 2005, seven months after stepping
down as CEO of Telemundo.