Paramount Vantage and Morgan Stanley create movie fund

Paramount Vantage and Morgan Stanley announced January 21, the creation of Marathon Funding LLC, a $150-million film financing fund which will invest in the production of at least 15 films being produced and released by Paramount Vantage.

Since the fund is retroactive, among the first films under the arrangement will be ‘Babel’, winner of this year’s Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Drama, as well as the 10 pictures being released by Paramount Vantage in 2007. Other releases under the deal include Michael Winterbottom’s ‘A Mighty Heart’, Sean Penn’s ‘Into the Wild’ and Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘There Will Be Blood’.

“We are excited to have a partner who is coming in at the beginning of the adventure of Paramount Vantage and will help us as we grow our business and extend our brand on a global level,” said Vantage President John Lesher and Co-President Nick Meyer.

“This new film financing agreement will give Paramount [Vantage] the funding it needs to expand its franchise and continue to produce quality, award-winning films such as Babel,” said Morgan Stanley Executive Director Christine Lavelle.

Earlier this month, Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Grey announced a restructuring of the studio that has each of its four labels — Par proper, Vantage, DreamWorks and MTV Films/Nick Movies — feeding the pipeline. Vantage will be the biggest provider.

“We are excited to have a partner who is coming in at the beginning of the adventure of Paramount Vantage and will help us as we grow our business and extend our brand on a global level,” Lesher and Meyer said.

Deal marks the first time a studio specialty arm has inked a slate financing deal; every major studio has previously done so.

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