EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning films such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The English Patient and Amadeus have a new owner.
The films are staying in the family, though, as Teatro della Pace is owned by Saul Zaentz’s nephew, producer Paul Zaentz. ACF Investment Bank advised The Saul Zaentz Company on the deal alongside Arnold & Porter as legal advisors.
It comes after The Saul Zaentz Company sold the rights to Lord of the Rings, via its Middle-Earth Enterprises, to Sweden’s Embracer for nearly $400M. Those rights included motion picture, video game, board game, merchandising, theme parks and stage production rights relating to The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises.
Terms of the Teatro della Pace deal were not disclosed but it also includes At Play in The Fields of the Lord, Fritz the Cat, Three Warriors, Pay Day, Goya’s Ghosts and Heavy Traffic.
It’s not clear how Paul Zaentz plans to use the rights, but given that Apple recently remade The Mosquito Coast as a TV series and Netflix made One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest spinoff Ratched, as well as a TV adaptation of The English Patient in the works at the BBC, there’s plenty of opportunities.
Saul Zaentz, who died in 2014, was a legendary film producer who won three Academy Awards as as well as the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He funded his films thanks to the success of Creedence Clearwater Revival, which had a deal with Zaentz-owned Fantasy Records.
As my colleague Peter Bart remembers, Zaentz said, “Great movies come from terrible people who fight you every step of the way and make your life miserable.”
Paul Zaentz worked on a number of films with his uncle including as production controller on Amadeus, directed by Milos Forman, financial controller on Peter Weir’s The Mosquito Coast, associate producer on The Unbearable Lightness of Being, At Play in the Fields of the Lord and Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient and exec producer on Goya’s Ghosts.
It is the latest deal involving ACF, which advised on Shamrock Capital’s acquisition of Boardwalk Pictures, the sale of Critical Content to SK Global and the sale of 72 Films to Fremantle.
“Zaentz CEO Frank Noonan and I are very pleased that our iconic library of films finds its home with one of its creators, Paul Zaentz, who was top bidder in the competition handled so well for us by ACF,” said Marty Glick, COO, The Saul Zaentz Company.
“So excited that this iconic library of films has returned to the nephew of Saul Zaentz – a very exciting transaction involving some of my favorite films,” added Thomas Dey, CEO of ACF Investment Bank.