Film studio buys Debmar-Mercury and rights to South Park, Dead Zone and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, among others.
Lionsgate, an independent filmed entertainment studio, announced today that it has acquired television distributor Debmar-Mercury. Operated by principals Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, the company will continue to operate under the Debmar-Mercury banner as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Debmar-Mercury syndicates television programming and feature film packages. The company owns distribution rights to Comedy Central’s South Park, the Lionsgate one-hour drama thriller The Dead Zone, the Sci Fi Channel’s Farscape series, produced by Hallmark Entertainment and the Jim Henson Co., and numerous other shows as well as two major feature film packages from Revolution Studios and a feature film package from Lionsgate.
Debmar-Mercury also recently completed a successful test of Tyler Perry’s (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion and the upcoming Daddy’s Little Girl) first-run, original comedy series House of Payne with select major market stations representing a cross section of key station groups. Lionsgate’s acquisition of Debmar-Mercury extends the company’s relationship with Tyler Perry across not only feature film and video product but original television programming as well.
The acquisition follows Lionsgate’s move into international feature film and library self-distribution through the October 2005 acquisition of U.K.-based distributor Redbus (subsequently renamed Lionsgate U.K.). It also creates a new distribution portal for Lionsgate by giving the company the capacity to syndicate its own television programming and feature film packages as well as creating a new television distribution revenue stream from third-party franchise properties.
Debmar-Mercury is already preparing the syndication launch of Lionsgate’s thriller The Dead Zone, which has just debuted in its fifth season on USA Network.