Lionsgate Picks Up ‘Shaun the Sheep’ Sequel and 4 Other Studiocanal Movies

Pact also includes U.S. distribution rights to Liam Neeson’s “Hard Power” and the Colin Firth-Rachel Weisz film “The Mercy”

Lionsgate and Studiocanal are expanding their longtime partnership to a multiyear, multipicture U.S. distribution deal, the two companies announced Thursday.

The pact will strengthen Lionsgate’s upcoming release slate with an animated film from Oscar-winning Aardman Studios, as well as two live-action theatrical releases. The agreement also brings two major Studiocanal pictures currently in development to Lionsgate.

The pact includes the U.S. distribution rights to “Shaun the Sheep Movie 2,” the follow-up to the 2015 film that was nominated for an Academy Award. The live-action properties include “Hard Power” starring Liam Neeson and Laura Dern, as well as “The Mercy,” starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.

The relationship between Lionsgate and Studiocanal was launched in 2010 with the horror thriller “The Last Exorcism,” followed by “Shaun the Sheep Movie” and the upcoming “The Commuter,” slated for a January 2018 debut. Lionsgate also distributes Studiocanal’s 6,500-title film library in North America.

“We’re delighted to continue to expand our longstanding relationship with Studiocanal, one of the greatest content companies in the world,” said Lionsgate Co-COO and Motion Picture Group Co-President Steve Beeks. “They bring to our slate a mix of live action and animated event films driven by AAA talent that will continue to enhance the strength and diversity of our portfolio for years to come. We’re also thrilled to be working again with our friends at Aardman Studios, the gold standard in family animation, on the highly-anticipated ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’ sequel.”

“Lionsgate is a terrific partner with a proven track record of success in handling our films,” added Studiocanal Executive Vice President of International Distribution Anna Marsh. “We are excited by the opportunity to continue to tap their marketing expertise and distribution prowess as we add our titles to their commercially exciting slate.”

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Beeks, Lionsgate President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Jason Constantine, and Lionsgate Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Eda Kowan. Marsh negotiated the agreement on behalf of Studiocanal.