In the latest in a string of distribution deals, Artisan Entertainment (which changed its name from LIVE Entertainment last week) has struck a five-year foreign distribution agreement with Summit Entertainment.
The two Los Angeles-based companies will begin their alliance next month at the Cannes Film Festival, where Summit will represent Artisan films including the $30-million Roman Polanski-directed "The Ninth Gate."
Artisan will fold its own foreign sales operation into Summit, in which it has purchased a minority interest. Sources familiar with the transaction said Artisan also has an option to buy the rest of Summit, and is likely to exercise it by the end of next year.
Among other deals, Summit has a distribution agreement with Peter Guber's Mandalay Entertainment. Both Summit and Artisan are privately held. Artisan President Amir Malin said the Summit deal is part of Artisan's ongoing drive to consolidate the independent business and maximize its holdings.