BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media, have secured the finance for the $15m feature length movie Planet Earth (working title).
Greenlight Media, the leading German production and international distribution company, will coordinate all global theatrical sales activities, as well as all TV and video/DVD rights to the movie, in conjunction with BBC Worldwide.
Early distribution deals for the film have already been secured in France with Gaumont, in Spain with Wanda, and in Switzerland with Frenetic.
Financing the new movie continues the long-term multi-film agreement between BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media to bring the best of the BBC's Natural History Unit output to the big screen.
The go-ahead for the film follows the international success of the award-winning, feature length movie Deep Blue. Having been watched by more than three million people, Deep Blue is distributed in more than 20 territories and has generated US$25 million in income to date. Since its pre-Christmas DVD release over 260,000 units have been sold in Germany, France, UK and Switzerland. It became the highest rating documentary film in Germany and broke several box office records in Japan. Miramax will launch Deep Blue later this year in the US.
Three years in the making, Planet Earth, directed by Alastair Fothergill, and involving the same successful team as Deep Blue, will be a 90-minute epic journey of life through the seasons, from the Arctic spring to winter in the Antarctic. Shot in 35mm and high definition film, the movie has images of spectacular beauty, dramatic impact and emotion that will reveal the incredible forces at work every minute of every day on our planet.
BBC Worldwide's Alix Tidmarsh, producer of Planet Earth commented: "Moving forward on our second movie is incredibly exciting. With its high quality production values and fantastic subject matter, Planet Earth has all the hallmarks of an international hit. We are looking forward to working with Greenlight and distributors around the world to bring this spectacular film to the widest possible global audience."
Sophokles Tasioulis, Greenlight Media's Executive Vice President of Production, and co-producer of the movie, added: "I am very pleased to continue and expand our relationship with BBC Worldwide, and even more excited to see Planet Earth coming to life. After the tremendous success of our first collaboration, Deep Blue it was not easy to find something we believed would be every bit as spectacular and amazing. With Planet Earth we are absolutely convinced we will live up to this challenge and once again surprise audiences around the world."
This extension to the BBC brand not only delivers a whole new audience around the globe, but also provides a significant platform on which to highlight BBC and British creative talents. Income from distribution deals will be returned to the BBC for new programmes and services.
Notes for editors:
Greenlight Media provides development, finance, production and distribution for international quality films. It is committed to delivering strong entertainment brands to audiences all around the world in both film and non-film media. Founded in 1993, Greenlight Media took off with the launch of the wildly successful animated TV series 'SimsalaGrimm', which has since been distributed to over 125 territories worldwide, making it Germany's number one exported TV series of all time.