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STUDIOCANAL acquires the Romulus Films catalogue

April 13th, 2021

We’re thrilled to announce that we have acquired the global sales and distribution rights of the Romulus Film catalogue which boasts 40+ titles including John Huston’s AFRICAN QUEEN (pictured), MOULIN ROUGE and BEAT THE DEVIL, Laurence Olivier’s BAFTA winning RICHARD III, Philip Leacock’s APPOINTMENT IN LONDON and Jack Clayton’s Academy Award and BAFTA winning ROOM AT THE TOP.

The deal was closed by STUDIOCANAL UK’s Head of Home Entertainment and Library John Rodden and on behalf of Romulus Films, film consultant, Nick Varley.

STUDIOCANAL will handle worldwide sales.

STUDIOCANAL UK’s Head of Home Entertainment and Library John Rodden comments “The Romulus library is a true treasure of film heritage and wonderfully complements our own iconic collection. We are delighted to partner with Romulus on these great films.”  

Juliette Hochart STUDIOCANAL’s EVP Library expands “STUDIOCANAL is proud to be a leader in the preservation, restoration and celebration of classic cinema,  and our international and local sales teams look forward to bringing the Romulus Library to new audiences across the world.” 

Jonathan Woolf owner and Managing Director of Romulus adds “We are very pleased to be working with STUDIOCANAL as our global distributor and also partner in the important ongoing work of upgrading and maintaining the technical quality of our library to ensure that our films continue to be shown to their best advantage around the world.“ 

The Woolf family’s involvement in British cinema spans a full century. CM Woolf produced early films with Alfred Hitchcock and was a major player in distribution and production in the burgeoning British film industry of the 1920’s and 30’s, including founding the Rank Organisation with J Arthur Rank. In 1948, following the early death of their father and seeking to establish their independence after working for The Rank Organisation, brothers John and James Woolf established Independent Film Distributors and production companies Romulus and Remus Films. Their aim was “to produce artistically valuable and yet commercially viable films, whose subjects would be wider than the often parochial British pictures of the period, and featuring big stars”.  

The highly damaging effects of the McCarthy era on the US film industry at that time enabled Romulus to attract leading directors and artists from Hollywood to the UK. Romulus produced some of the great British and Anglo/American films of the 1950’s and 60’s including The African Queen, Moulin Rouge and Room At The Top. Romulus’ films have won thirteen Academy Awards and featured some of the greatest talent of the era. In the 1960’s and 70’s Romulus produced a number of films in partnership with major studio’s including Best Picture winner Oliver! and two films based on the books of Frederick Forsyth The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File (note: these films are not included in this deal). Through his interests in Anglia Television Sir John also produced such TV series as Tales of the Unexpected.

Romulus is still owned by the Woolf family and while the interests of the company have diversified, the love of cinema still continues with Sir John’s son, Jonathan. The company is actively pursuing new production opportunities utilising its extensive catalogue of film properties as well as searching for new stories.

STUDIOCANAL has an extensive slate of catalogue release activity planned in 2021 including a 4K restoration of Ousmane Sembène’s traiblazing Senegalese classic MANDABI (The Money Order) in cinemas and Blu-ray, DVD, Digital in June 2021.