Family entertainment production outfit Peakviewing Transatlantic is spreading its wings beyond the British Isles. The U.K.-based company, which specializes in creating mid- to low-budget live-action family features for broadcast and theatrical distribution, recently struck three separate agreements for DVD and video distribution in the U.S. and Canada (UAV Entertainment), Scandinavia (Ozon Media) and Australia and New Zealand (Video Unlimited).
The decision to expand internationally grew out of the company’s overall plan to establish itself as a global provider of family-friendly programming, a goal that it is starting to realize with increased sales of its movies to broadcasters around the world, says Stefan Ericson, senior VP of Peakviewing’s International Distribution division. Last year, the company produced 18 films (most budgeted in the range of US$5 million to US$6 million) and posted revenues of US$88 million, up from US$32 million in ’99.
Though Ericson is optimistic about the sales prospects of Peakviewing titles in Scandinavia and Australia, he is realistic about the company’s chances of penetrating the highly competitive U.S. video market right away. ‘You know how it is in the U.S.–unless you have Cameron Diaz and Mel Gibson in the same picture, it’s pretty tough to succeed,’ he says. To help raise the profile of Peakviewing’s titles, Ericson hopes to secure theatrical distribution for its films in both the U.S. and the other key territories in order to establish some exposure for the vids and DVDs before they hit stores.
Peakviewing plans to pump out four to five films over the next year, and will kick off this month with the worldwide release of two live-action pics on VHS and DVD: the fantasy-genre flick Merlin: The Return, which was originally released theatrically last year in the U.K. and stars Sleeping with The Enemy’s Patrick Bergin; and Hooded Angels, an actioner set during the American Civil War that follows an outlaw gang of female gunslingers.