Universal extends home video distribution deal with Warner in Russia

Mumbai: Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE) and Warner Home Video (WHV) have signed an agreement to extend an existing home entertainment distribution partnership, whereby Universal Pictures Russia will continue to distribute DVD and launch Blu-ray releases for Warner Bros and New Line in the Russian home entertainment market for a further term.

The deal was announced by UPIE president Eddie Cunningham and Warner Home Video president international Philippe Cardon.

Under the renewed three year contract, Universal Pictures Russia (UPR) will distribute all Warner Bros DVD product, beginning with titles such as The Dark Knight, Yes Man, Rock’n’Rolla, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, amongst other titles, through to 2011.

With immediate effect, Universal Pictures Russia will also distribute Warner films in the next generation hi-definition format, with 19 Blu-ray releases scheduled in next two months alone – namely: 300, Beowulf, Speed Racer, 10,000 BC, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I am Legend, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Get Smart and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolution, Constantine and V for Vendetta.

The first international company to produce and license DVD production in Russia, UPR first signed a distribution agreement with Warner Home Video in 2005 to market and distribute Warner home entertainment titles in that territory. As part of this successful partnership, on behalf of Warner Home Video, UPR distributed a wide variety of best-selling DVD hits such as 300, The Golden Compass, Blood Diamond, A History of Violence, I am Legend and catalogue products such as The Lord of the Rings – The Motion Picture Trilogy, Harry Potter 1-4, Ocean’s Trilogy, The Matrix Trilogy, Clint Eastwood Collection, Nicole Kidman Collection, Brad Pitt Collection and other successful releases, many of which were leading sales titles in the Top 10 DVD chart.

Cunningham said, "We are delighted to extend our incredibly successful partnership with Warner Bros in Russia, which is such an exciting growth market".

"Our partnership with Universal in Russia reaffirms our commitment to this growing home entertainment market. We look forward to working together to bring more of our exciting movies and TV shows to Russian consumers," said Cardon.

UPR managing director Egor Borisov added, "We are very happy that a major film studio like Warner will continue to work so closely with Universal to further develop the growing Russian home entertainment market. It is a great honor for us to continue our successful collaboration. The agreement will benefit both companies in terms of strengthening distribution channels and working together to combat the challenge of piracy".

Warner Home Video regional director Russia and CIS Marina Trushina said, "We are very satisfied with the great results of our three-year cooperation with Universal Pictures Russia, which has reaped many mutual benefits. Universal’s professionalism and strategic approach has allowed UPR to take a leading position in the Russian home video market, also enabling Warner to triple our sales volumes. We are looking into the future with optimism and are happy to continue our collaboration to satisfy the high consumer demand for quality home entertainment in Russia."

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