(August 7, 2000, Burbank, CA) – In a far-reaching deal signaling the financial muscularity and confidence of foreign film producers and distributors in a handful of preeminent U.S. independent production organizations, Senator Entertainment AG, one of German’s leading entertainment and exhibition companies, has entered in a five-year, multi-faceted joint venture agreement with The Canton Company to develop and fully fund an average of four-to-six major theatrical motion pictures a year, it was announced today by Mark Canton and Senator’s Chief Executive Officer Hanno Huth. Canton, the former Chairman of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Companies, will continue to maintain his close working relationship with Warner Bros. Pictures, where he and The Canton Company have been based for the past three years. Under terms of a new agreement, that close-knit affiliation remains in place with the Studio co-financing and distributing a selected number of Senator/Canton projects on a worldwide basis. Senator will retain exclusive distribution rights in Germany, China, Eastern Europe and other foreign territories to be determined on a by-picture basis. The new Senator/Canton agreement with Warner Bros. Pictures recognizes some four-to-five unique financing scenarios and profit sharing arrangements allowing for significant financial participation in the development and production of a diverse slate of highly commercial pictures with distinct worldwide appeal. The revenue-generating potential of a Senator/Canton alliance, ranging from intellectual property rights to worldwide theatrical distribution to home video to pay TV to new and emerging broadband technology applications, will establish The Canton Company as one of the leading independent theatrical feature film suppliers in the world. Senator, a 20-year-old entertainment company, is at the forefront of the German distribution, production and exhibition arena and recently forged output deals with Joe Roth’s Revolution Films and the UK’s FilmFour, and has acquired a controlling interest in Cinemaxx, Europe’s second largest theatrical exhibitor. “In a rapidly expanding international marketplace, I can’t imagine a better strategic partner than Senator Entertainment,” stated Canton. “Together, we have the freedom, autonomy and financial wherewithal to produce and distribute motion pictures throughout the world while growing our company into a commercially-significant, independent production entity. “We couldn’t have done it,” Canton continued, “without the enthusiastic support of Barry (Meyer), Alan (Horn) and Lorenzo (di Bonaventura), who have afforded us the opportunity to strike a deal that will pay substantial dividends to us all.” “Our partnership with The Canton Company represents an important strategic alliance to Senator as we globalize our company and heighten our commitment to providing the highest caliber, most appealing films to the worldwide community,” noted Huth. “To achieve our goals, it was essential to partner with someone who possesses taste, imagination and market savvy, and unlimited access to projects and talent typically reserved for the majors. Mark embodies those qualities and more. The combined relationship with Warner Bros. takes The Canton Company deal from a home run to a grand slam.” “We’re very excited about this new arrangement,” said Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Bros. “Mark is one of the most talented producers in the industry today and Senator is a major force in European entertainment. This is one of these unique win-win situations -- it expands our relationship with Mark, giving him more creative autonomy than in a traditional production deal, while enhancing our relationship with an important European partner.” Brokering the arrangement was William Morris Agency President and Co-CEO Jim Wiatt and the co-head of WMA Independent Rena Ronson. Jake Bloom and Steven Brookman of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer and Cook, LLP represented The Canton Company. Senator was represented in the deal by Craig Jacobson and Tom McGuire of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman & Warren. In his over two decades in the entertainment industry, Canton has helped bring over 300 motion pictures to the screen including some of the most creatively and commercially successful films of all time, such as the “Batman,” “Lethal Weapon” and “Vacation” franchises, “Air Force One,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Men In Black,” “Jerry Maguire” and “As Good As It Gets,” to name but a few. Canton produced the Christmas favorite “Jack Frost” through The Canton Company, in addition to producing, with Franchise Pictures, the forthcoming, much-anticipated remake of the classic “Get Carter,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine, which opens October 6; and, with Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow, the dramatic thriller “Red Planet,” starring Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Carrie-Anne Moss and Terence Stamp, which opens in the pre-Thanksgiving season on November 3. He most recently wrapped production on the romantic drama “Angel Eyes,” also with Warner Bros. Pictures and Franchise, starring Jennifer Lopez and Jim Caviezel. Canton, along with creator Randi Singer, also executive produces “Jack & Jill”, starring Amanda Peet and Ivan Sergei, from Warner Bros. Television for The WB. Canton joined Warner Bros. as Vice President of Production in 1980, then rose to Senior Vice President in 1983 and President of Worldwide Theatrical Production in 1985. After departing Warner Bros. in 1991, he joined Sony Pictures as Chairman of Columbia Pictures. By 1994, Canton had risen to chairman of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Companies, with all creative, operation and management responsibility for Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Triumph Films, SPE’s international theatrical operations and Columbia TriStar’s strategic motion picture alliances. He returned to Warner Bros. in 1997, this time as head of his new production entity: The Canton Company.
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