Rialto Pictures Acquires US Theatrical Rights to Vast STUDIOCANAL Library

Dustin Chang, Contributing Writer
Founded in 1997, Rialto has been described as the gold standard of the reissue distributors. Now it will distribute international classics from the 2,000+ film catalogue of media giant STUDIOCANAL.

Rialto's past releases have included Renoir's Grand Illusion; Carol Reed's The Third Man; Fellini's Nights of Cabiria; Jules Dassin's Rififi; De Sica's Umberto D; Godard's Breathless, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Masculine Feminine, A Woman is a Woman, and Made in USA; Julien Duvivier's Pépé le Moko; Luis Buñuel's Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Phantom of Liberty, The Milky Way and That Obscure Object of Desire; John Schlesinger's Billy Liar; Clouzot's Quai des Orfèvres; Mel Brooks' The Producers; Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar, Mouchette and Diary of a Country Priest; Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le Flambeur, Le Cercle Rouge, Léon Morin, Priest; Le Doulos; and Army of Shadows; Max Ophuls' Lola Montès; Claude Berri's The Two of Us;  Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers;  Alberto Lattuada's Mafioso; and the previously unreleased, original 1954 Japanese version of Godzilla.

RIALTO PICTURES, the New York-based pioneer in classic film re-releases, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, has signed a 3 year agreement with STUDIOCANAL to handle the U.S. theatrical distribution of over 2,000 international classics owned by the French media giant.

The STUDIOCANAL film library, one of the largest in the world, includes classic films by Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Claude Chabrol, Abel Gance, Vittorio De Sica, Alain Resnais, Mike Nichols, Jacques Tati, Akira Kurosawa, Bertrand Tavernier, Orson Welles, and many others. The company's diverse catalogue includes everything from Hitchcock's early sound masterpiece Blackmail to Sam Raimi's cult classic Evil Dead II.

Says Olivier Courson, Chairman of STUDIOCANAL, "Rialto has already been our partner for the past fifteen years, brilliantly marketing re-releases of many of the jewels in our library:  Renoir's Grand Illusion, Carol Reed's The Third Man, Godard's Contempt, Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad, Kurosawa's Ran, and many others.  Their phenomenal release of Melville's Army of Shadows in 2006 gave it a new life worldwide.  No one knows this very specialized marketplace better, so we think it makes perfect sense that Rialto should represent our library in the U.S."

Says Bruce Goldstein, Rialto's founder and co-president, "Taking on the STUDIOCANAL library is not only a great opportunity, but also a great responsibility.  In effect, we'll be the curators and guardians of some of the world's great film classics. One of our goals is to make it easier for American programmers and curators to access films from the library. And we plan to promote touring packages of films selected from this library."

Rialto has already begun releasing some STUDIOCANAL titles under the new deal, including a reissue of Paul Verhoeven's original Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which opened at New York's Film Forum a week after the national release of the new remake. Rialto is also releasing Claude Sautet's Max et les Ferrailleurs, starring Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider.

This fall, Rialto will release STUDIOCANAL's new restoration of Marcel Carne's Port of Shadows.  In 2013, Rialto, in association with the BFI and Park Circus Films, will distribute "The Hitchcock Nine" - nine Alfred Hitchcock silent films recently restored by the BFI.  (Rialto now has theatrical rights to five of them from the STUDIOCANAL library, Park Circus the other four under license from Granada.)   

The STUDIOCANAL library includes some of the top titles from the former Carolco and DEG (Dino de Laurentiis) libraries, including Terminator 2, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and Rambo, and classics like Crimes of the Heart, Escape From New York, Lion in Winter, The Graduate, and This is Spinal Tap. The company also owns hundreds of British films from the Anglo Amalgamated and Ealing libraries (including classics like Alexander Mackendrick's The Man in the White Suit, starring Alec Guinness, which Rialto will re-release this winter with a new STUDIOCANAL restoration) and countless French masterpieces including Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion and Luis Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

 



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  • James Marsh

    While it is great that all these titles - espcially those Carolco and DEG releases - may now get some loving treatment on Bluray and DVD, this is clearly sad news for Criterion fans, as a great number of those titles were formerly part of the collection and this deal, presumably, will ensure they remain separated from Criterion for a few more years...if not forever.

  • J Hurtado

    I believe that Lionsgate retains the home video rights for the Studio Canal stuff, which means nothing will probably change on that front.

  • James Marsh

    Yup, that word "theatrical" just flew right by me. Damn that's a lot of awesome titles to see on the big screen!

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