Fox International Productions is teaming in an exclusive first-look deal with film industry veterans Paul Heth and Michael Schlicht for Russian-language movies. The arrangement encompasses both co-productions and acquisitions and adds to Fox’s continuing co-production and acquisitions relationships and activities in Russia and CIS. Russia remains a powerhouse market with $1.25B in 2014 box office and locally made films accounting for $215M of the total. Although the ruble has taken a hit against the dollar, Russia this year continues to regularly feature in the Top 10 offshore plays for the studios.
Longtime producing partners Heth and Schlicht have collaborated on such titles as Stalingrad, the highest-grossing film in Russian history; the Very Best Movie franchise; Vysotsky: Thank God I Am Alive; and this year’s Battalion. Heth is a Moscow-based media entrepreneur who is widely credited with the revitalization of the Russian theatrical exhibition sector. He also is an owner and serves as CEO of Karo, one of Russia’s leading cinema companies. Schlicht is one of Russia’s most accomplished film executives, having overseen the release of five of the 10 highest-grossing local-language films of the modern era, including Irony Of Fate 2 and the Night Watch franchise. The partners will work closely with Vadim Smirnov, 20th Century Fox International’s Managing Director for Russia.
This is the latest deal spearheaded by new FIP President Tomas Jegeus following yesterday’s announcement that the company had partnered with China’s Huace Media Group for local films in the Middle Kingdom.
Jegeus said today: “We are delighted to again be working with Paul and Michael as we expand our production activities in Russia and CIS and look to international distribution opportunities with this new deal. Michael and Paul are proven film entrepreneurs who also are forward-thinking, global-minded businessmen.”
Heth and Schlicht added, “We are really excited and look forward to working with Tomas Jegeus, Paul Higginson, Vadim Smirnov and the whole Fox team as we continue developing and investing in the vision of our Russian filmmaking partners, who have, to date, created some of the highest-quality, most commercially successful films in Russian cinema history.”