COHEN MEDIA GROUP ACQUIRES CURZON
Curzon Cinemas, the United Kingdom’s preeminent specialized theater operator has been purchased by Cohen Media Group, an Academy Award-winning independent theatrical distribution and production company. The deal includes the purchase of Curzon’s Artificial Eye distribution arm as well as the Curzon Home Cinema streaming operations. The announcement was made today by Cohen Media Group Chairman and Owner Charles S. Cohen and Philip Knatchbull, CEO of Curzon.
Curzon Cinemas pioneered specialized exhibition in the United Kingdom and has been the country’s most revered and respected name in arthouse and specialty films for 85 years. Curzon currently operates 20 theaters and 46 screens in and around London.
For over four decades, Curzon’s Artificial Eye, Curzon’s sister company, has released many films from the world’s finest directors. Louisa Dent, Managing Director, oversees the distribution company. Curzon’s Artificial Eye’s hundreds of releases have amassed countless awards, including the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar winners in seven of the last eight years: A Separation, Amour, The Great Beauty, Ida, Son of Saul, The Salesman and A Fantastic Woman. In 2017, Curzon was honored with a special BAFTA award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.
The Curzon acquisition deal was negotiated by Lisbeth (Libby) Savill, a partner in the London office of Latham & Watkins and David Fogelacting on behalf of Charles S. Cohen. Jonathan Goodwin and Julian Culhane of Alvarium Investments were Curzon’s financial advisers in the transaction. Latham & Watkinsserved as legal advisers to Cohen Media Group; Fox Williams represented Curzon sellers.
Cohen Media Group has released many of the same films in the U.S. that Curzon’s Artificial Eye has in the U.K., which makes this new arrangement a natural partnership and creates a new powerhouse in international distribution, particularly in independent and specialty film.
The three divisions of Curzon, which were all acquired by Cohen include:
- Curzon Cinemas- Curzon Cinemas was founded in 1934 by Harold Wingate, who opened the Mayfair theater in London to show little-known imported films. Throughout the interwar years and beyond, the theater became the home for foreign and independent films in Britain. The Curzon Mayfair continues today as a two-screen arthouse cinema still focused on independent and foreign films, with royal boxes and a bar. A second cinema, Curzon Bloomsbury, opened in 1972. Over the last decade, Curzon expanded greatly, currently operating 20 cinemas encompassing 46 screens in London and throughout the U.K.
- Curzon Artificial Eye– Curzon Artificial Eye is the company’s film distribution operation, releasing some 20 new theatrical films and 30 DVD and Blu-ray titles in the U.K. each year. Founded in 1976 by German-born film enthusiast Andi Engel and his wife, Pamela Balfry, and acquired by Curzon in 2006, Artificial Eye has a library of over 400 films and it has released critically acclaimed titles by the world’s greatest directors, including Ingmar Bergman, Michael Haneke, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Lars von Trier, Werner Herzog, Abbas Kiarostami and Andrei Tarkovsky. Artificial Eye has released more Cannes Palme d’Or winners than any other U.K. distributor, including 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Class, The White Ribbon, Amour andBlue Is the Warmest Color.
- Curzon Home Cinema- Curzon’s video-on-demand streaming service brings the distributor’s catalog and other titles – as well as day-and-date availability for brand-new theatrical releases – to viewers in the U.K. and Ireland. Curzon Home Cinema is available to customers through TV, mobile apps and over-the-top platforms.
Charles S. Cohen said, “Among exhibitors and distributors of great films, there are few names in the international marketplace as important as Curzon and Curzon’s Artificial Eye. We are thrilled to unite with this honored brand and I look forward to working with Philip and Curzon’s highly experienced senior management team. Together, we will carry forward the Curzon brand with plans to expand it in a thoughtful and measured way”.
Curzon’s CEO Philip Knatchbull said, “The Curzon brand is uniquely placed to take advantage of the rapidly changing landscape in film and is easily transportable and scalable outside the U.K. With Charles Cohen’s proven dedication and track record for quality film together with his recent acquisition of the Landmark theatre chain and now the addition of Curzon he has created an important group of companies with opportunities to grow a unified platform for an ever-increasing demand for filmed content. I look forward to helping Charles fulfill that potential”.
As Curzon starts this new chapter in its life Roger Wingate will be stepping down as Chairman ending his family’s association with the company stretching back nearly 80 years, “Curzon has been present throughout my entire life. I will miss it but am confident that its future is in good hands.” The position of Chairman will now be assumed by Charles S. Cohen.
In December of 2018, Cohen Media Group acquired Landmark Theaters, the largest specialized theater chain in the United States, dedicated to independent cinema with 51 theaters and 251 screens in 27 markets. Landmark is a recognized leader in the industry for providing its customers consistently diverse and entertaining film products in a sophisticated adult-oriented atmosphere.
Film Movement Officially Designates 12/28 as NATIONAL SHORT FILM DAY; Offers 10 Free Streaming Shorts on FILM MOVEMENT PLUS
December 28th will mark the inaugural celebration of National Short Film Day, commemorating the day when the Lumière brothers projected a program of short films to a public audience for the first time. In support of the impact of short films and of their long and enduring history, Film Movement has registered the observance with National Day Calendar® and the Registrar proclaimed the day to be observed on December 28th, annually.
It was in 1895 at the Grand Café in Paris. Two brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, lit a spark of fascination in front of a paying audience of 33 customers that would ignite the world’s obsession with cinema. The two pioneers presented 10 short films, each about 50 seconds in length, to the amazement of all those in attendance. The experience of “watching movies” came alive that day, and it all began with those first 10 short films. Today, short films come in many genres, lengths and styles. They entertain us with animation, fantasy, comedy and drama. They also inform and educate us through documentary subjects that provide revealing insights into real life stories we may have never known before. In short, short films continue to move us, just as they did that first time over 120 years ago.
To help observe National Short Film Day, on December 28th, 2019 – and every Short Film Day thereafter — Film Movement will stream 10 short films for free on their signature streaming service, FILM MOVEMENT PLUS (www.filmmovementplus.com), and offer new subscribers exclusive membership discounts. This year’s acclaimed and award-winning films from around the globe include:
- DRIVING LESSONS (2012, Director: Elodie Lélu, Belgium, French with English Subtitles) – In this short comedy/drama, Manon’s mother forces her to take her garrulous grandmother along to her driving lesson. Already out of sorts, the seventeen-year-old finds out she’s pregnant just moments before taking the wheel. (14 minutes).
- FERAL (2012, Director Daniel Sousa, USA) – Nominated for Best Animated Short at both the Academy Awards and Sundance, this fantastical short follows the adventures of a wild boy found in the woods by a solitary hunter and brought back to civilization. Alienated by a strange new environment, the boy tries to adapt by using the same strategies that kept him safe in the forest. (13 minutes)
- FINALE (2011, Director Balazs Simonyi, Hungary, Hungarian with English Subtitles) — Two suspiciously well-dressed men have a few drinks in a bar and then ominously head off into the night to finish a mysterious job in this comedic short film. (8 minutes)
- JOB INTERVIEW (2013, Director Julia Walter, Germany, German with English Subtitles) – When Lisa applies for a job everything seems to be turning out pretty well. Until the boss Marie starts asking strange questions and the job interview turns out to be a little different than expected. (10 minutes)
- LE BALLON DE ROUGE (2012, Director Sylvain Bressollette, France, French with English subtitles) — Paris, France, 1963. A couple have an argument in a bar. A young man sitting nearby hears the man threaten his wife (Lou de Laâge). When a speaker announces the assassination of President JFK, everybody stands up and moves closer to the bar to hear the news again. The young man takes the opportunity to talk to the girl and tells her what life together could be if she accepts to run away with him, now. (20 minutes)
- SOCIAL BUTTERFLY (2013, Director Lauren Wolkstein, USA) — A thirty-year-old American woman (Anna Margaret Hollyman) enters a teenage party in the South of France. Some of the guests wonder who she is and what she is doing there in this maverick indie nominated for Best Short Film at both Sundance and SXSW. (14 minutes)
- THE AMBER AMULET (2012, Director Matthew Moore, Australia) – In this winner of the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film at Berlin, the Masked Avenger can make things happen. Though only ten, he has already proved himself highly effective in the pursuit of peace on Franklin Street. This is the story of a superhero, a beagle, an amulet made of amber, and the potential that is locked inside all of us. This drama is based on Craig Silvey’s novella of the same name. (23 minutes)
- THE GUNFIGHTER (2014, Director Eric Kissack, USA) — In the tradition of classic westerns, a narrator (Nick Offerman) sets up the story of a lone gunslinger who walks into a saloon. However, the people in this saloon can hear the narrator and the narrator may just be a little bit bloodthirsty. (9 minutes)
- THE LAND OF HEROES (2011, Director Sahim Omar Kalifa, Belgium, Iraq) – All ten-year-old Dileer and his sister Zienee want to do is watch cartoons, but they must contend with TV propaganda, collecting used weapons for their mother to re-sell, and their bullying cousin. Winner of Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, this drama is in Kurdish and Arabic with English subtitles. (19 minutes)
- THE QUEEN (2013, Director Manuel Abramovich, Argentina | Language: Spanish with English subtitles) – Lost in a world of grown-ups, young Memi is torn between the glamour of the carnival pageant and the social pressure to become a winner in this award-winning Argentinian documentary short. (19 minutes)
Zombieland: Double Tap Bonus Features are here
Zombieland: Double Tap is available on Digital 12/24 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD 1/21!