Universal Pictures and The Arenas Group have formed Arenas Entertainment, a new Universal-based film label that will acquire, produce, finance, market and distribute films tailored to Hispanic audiences worldwide. The deal was announced by Marc Shmuger, vice chairman of Universal Pictures, and Santiago Pozo, founder and president of The Arenas Group. Pozo will serve as chief executive officer of the new venture.
Arenas Entertainment will provide a home for the burgeoning Latino filmmaking community and a platform for Latino directors, screenwriters and actors to showcase their work. Universal Pictures and Marco Polo Investments S.C.R., the leading Spanish Venture Capital firm specialized in TMT, will hold an equity stake in the new entity, which will distribute four or five films per year. All productions and acquisitions released under the new label will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Arenas Entertainment. The current deal is for five years, after which Universal will have the ability to increase its financial stake in Arenas Entertainment.
Mr. Shmuger said, "Santiago and his team at The Arenas Group have played a key role in our marketing efforts to the U.S. Latino audience for many years. This new venture is evidence of our belief in Arenas as an organization and in the Latino audience as a growing and valuable moviegoing demographic in the coming years."
"There's an old saying in Spanish that reads `El que da primero da dos veces' (`The one that hits first strikes twice'), and as the first major Latino focused film label, Arenas Entertainment opens the doors of an industry where, for too long, Latinos have stood on the sidelines," said Mr. Pozo. "We feel we have found the ideal partners in Universal Pictures and Marco Polo and are confident this new venture has the leadership, resources and the clout to create a solid bridge for Latinos to access the film industry."
Jorge Galera, chief executive officer of Marco Polo Investments, said, "Our goal is to build upon the vision that Santiago brought to us and to capitalize on the potential of the fast-growing Hispanic market. Arenas' deep roots and expertise in Latino marketing, combined with Universal's positioning and Marco Polo's leadership in Spain, creates a powerful player in Latino filmmaking."
Universal has had a close working relationship with The Arenas Group since the company was formed 13 years ago, with Arenas consulting on such releases as "The Milagro Beanfield War," all three "Jurassic Park" films, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns" and "The Fast and the Furious." While this new label marks Arenas' first foray into the areas of production, acquisition and distribution, Arenas will continue to handle the marketing of Universal's films to Hispanic audiences.