BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media have signed a major deal with Universum Film GmbH, to distribute the BBC's ambitious feature-length movie, EARTH, in a number of German-speaking territories, including Germany, Austria and Luxembourg.
Munich-based Universum Film GmbH, a part of the RTL Group and one of Germany's leading distributors, secured the rights for the $15m movie despite stiff competition from other major distributors.
The deal was brokered by Ms Tania Reichert-Facilides, MD of Universum Film, and Mr André Sikojev on behalf of the BBC/Greenlight Media.
Five years in the making, EARTH is due for release in Summer 2007 and follows the miraculous migratory journeys of four animal families as they head from the North Pole to the South across land, sea and air, following the Sun's influence on our planet.
Directed by Alastair Fothergill, and involving the same successful team behind DEEP BLUE, the 90-minute epic has been shot in 35mm and High Definition to create a stunning backdrop of landscapes, some of which have never before been seen by human eyes.
Commenting on the agreement, BBC Worldwide's deputy CEO Mike Philips says: "EARTH is an epic 90 minute portrayal of our planet in a way that has never been undertaken before. It follows the Earth's journey around the Sun and the massive influence it has on all life on the planet, from the Arctic spring to the Antarctic Winter. It is quite simply our most ambitious project to date and I am delighted that it will be made available to German-speaking audiences through such a prestigious partner as Universum Film."
André Sikojev, President, Greenlight Media says: "Universum Film has shown a great enthusiasm from the very start of our negotiations and we are absolutely convinced that Earth has found the ideal partner for Germany. We are looking forward to working with all the Universum Film team."
Tania Reichert-Facilides, MD of Universum Film added: "This outstanding picture will be the highlight in our 2007 release slate."
Universum Film will join GAGA in Japan, Gaumont in France, Wanda in Spain and Frenetic in Switzerland, as the exclusive distribution partners for EARTH, which follows on the international success of the BBC's first feature-length documentary movie, DEEP BLUE.
Since its distribution in early 2004, DEEP BLUE continues to attract audiences in over 20 territories around the globe. Since launch the movie has been seen by over 3 million people and has generated revenue of around £30m.
Note to Editors:
Greenlight Media, a leading German production and international distribution company, provides development, finance, production and distribution for international quality films for television and cinema.
It is committed to delivering strong entertainment brands to audiences all around the world in both film and non-film media. Founded in 1993, the company's chief focus is on animated films (SIMSALAGRIMM, 1999), landmark documentaries (DEEP BLUE, 2004) and feature films (THE GREAT MATCH, 2006).
Greenlight Media co-ordinates all global theatrical sales activities, as well as all TV and video/DVD rights to the movie, in conjunction with BBC Worldwide.
Universum Film GmbH has been involved in the video market since 1979, becoming part of the RTL Group in 1998. Universum Film acquires film rights for theatrical releases as well as for the exploitation of Video and DVD. In June 2002, Universum Film released its first film at the cinema and has, since then, released a number of successful features such as 'Spirited Away', 'Arouind The World in 80 Days', 'The Quiet American' and 'Crash'.