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Trilogy Group Strikes Deal With Major Europe Film Distributor : Movies: The three-year pact with London-based Majestic could be a lucrative one for the developer of ‘Robin Hood.’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Trilogy Entertainment Group, best known for developing “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Backdraft,” has struck a potentially lucrative deal with London-based Majestic Films.

Trilogy said Thursday that Majestic will help to finance certain productions in return for foreign distribution rights. The three-year deal puts Trilogy in partnership with one of Europe’s most established distributors. Majestic is majority-owned by the Italian publishing giant RCS.

“In our history, we’ve generated most of our own ideas,” Trilogy partner Richard Lewis said. “Now we have a chance to step out more on our own. This gives us that freedom.”

The deal is a result of Trilogy’s long-running efforts to gain a bigger stake in its films, which have performed well overseas. Under the terms of the agreement, Trilogy will be guaranteed a percentage of the returns from international markets. Majestic is also expected to help Trilogy acquire rights to major books and other projects.

Lewis said the companies already have five projects in development, two of which would be domestically distributed by MGM/UA. Trilogy is in the process of moving its offices from Columbia Pictures to MGM/UA, where it has a long-term first-look deal. It recently completed production on “Blown Away,” starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, for MGM/UA.

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Lewis and his partners, Pen Densham and John Watson, got their big break in the summer of 1991, when “Robin Hood” and “Backdraft” were released. The company subsequently produced the CBS television series “Space Rangers,” which was canceled soon after its premiere last fall.

The Majestic deal creates a revolving fund for Trilogy to use in the development of star-driven movies in the mold of “Robin Hood.” Majestic’s Guy East said his company is looking to finance “big locomotive features” in conjunction with the major studios.

The Trilogy partnership could produce as many as three films a year, according to East. “We’ll start with a number of projects immediately,” he said. “We find (Trilogy) very easy to get along with. Their track record is good. The kind of films they make is the kind we like.”

Majestic in the past has internationally distributed such films as “Dances With Wolves,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Damage.” Lewis said MGM/UA will retain worldwide rights to “Blown Away.” In the future, Lewis said, MGM/UA will most likely be the domestic distributor on the majority of projects done in partnership with Majestic.


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