StudioCanal S.A.S.
Company typeSubsidiary
Film distribution
Founded1988 (1988)
Area served
Key people
Maxime Saada (Chairman)
Anna Marsh (CEO)
ParentCanal+ Group
  • StudioCanal UK
  • StudioCanal Australia
  • StudioCanal GmbH
  • StudioCanal Original

StudioCanal S.A.S. (formerly known as Le Studio Canal+, Canal Plus, Canal+ Distribution, Canal+ D.A., Canal+ Production, and Canal+ Image and also known as StudioCanal International) is a French film production and distribution company that owns the third-largest film library in the world. The company is a unit of the Canal+ Group, owned by Vivendi.


The company was founded in 1988 by Pierre Lescure as a spin-off of the Canal+ pay-TV network. The original function was to focus on French and European productions, but later made strategic deals with American production companies, such as Carolco Pictures. StudioCanal's most notable productions from its early years include Terminator 2: Judgment Day, JFK, Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Under Siege, Free Willy, and the original Stargate movie. In those days, it was known as either Le Studio Canal+ or simply Canal+.

Other films the company financed include U-571, Bully, and Bridget Jones's Diary. StudioCanal also funded the last third of David Lynch's film Mulholland Drive.[1] StudioCanal also financed French-language films, such as Brotherhood of the Wolf (which became the sixth-highest-grossing French-language film of all time in the United States) and Intimate Strangers (which is being remade by Hollywood-based Paramount Pictures).[2] The biggest box office hits for StudioCanal have been Terminator 2: Judgment Day which grossed US$519 million, Basic Instinct which grossed US$352 million and The Tourist which grossed US$278 million worldwide.[3][4][5]

Film library

StudioCanal acquired film libraries from studios that either became defunct or had merged with it over the years; as a result, the company's library is one of the largest in the world, with over 6,000 titles.

StudioCanal owns the libraries of the following companies:

Former agreements

Television series

StudioCanal currently owns the rights to over 30 television series, mostly produced by TANDEM Productions and Red Production Company, including The Avengers, Rambo: The Force of Freedom, Paranoid, Public Eye, Crazyhead, Take Two, Wanted Dead or Alive, The Adventures of Paddington (2019), and international rights to The Big Valley.



StudioCanal made their first known acquisition into a foreign market in 1997 when they bought a 20% minority stake in Germany's Tobis Film; they would later increase the stake to 60% in February 2000, renaming the company Tobis StudioCanal.[20] In July 2001, StudioCanal acquired a 45% stake from Spain's Sogecable, of which Vivendi Universal owned 21%, in their division Sogepaq for $36.2-45.5 million, also giving the company a 73% controlling stake in its Spanish subsidiary StudioCanal España and a minority stake in the joint venture Warner Sogefilms.[21][22][23] In October 2002, StudioCanal and BAC Majestic parted ways, with terms of the deal including the sale of Mars Films to StudioCanal, although the joint venture BAC Distribution, majority owned by StudioCanal, would shut down and revert to BAC Majestic.[24]

However, staff departures and its parent Vivendi Universal's debt would force StudioCanal to gradually sell off their interests in these companies:

StudioCanal re-entered the international market by acquiring British distributor Optimum Releasing in May 2006 as their first expansion into the United Kingdom.[30] A year later, Optimum Home Entertainment and Lionsgate UK acquired Elevation Sales, a home entertainment sales and distribution company.[31][32] In 2008, their third expansion into the international market took place with StudioCanal's acquisition of German distributor Kinowelt, who had distributed their films up to that point.[33] Kinowelt also owned the DVD label Arthaus. Both Optimum and Kinowelt have since been merged into StudioCanal.[34] StudioCanal's acquisition of Australian distributor Hoyts Distribution took place in 2012 and was StudioCanal's fourth expansion.[35]

In June 2016, StudioCanal acquired the intellectual rights to the Paddington Bear brand, along with the Copyrights Group, the franchise's merchandise licensing agent. StudioCanal then announced that it would be producing three more Paddington films, including a show on the Nick Jr. Channel in 2020.[36]


Outside France, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand and Germany, StudioCanal does not have a formal distribution unit per se, instead relying on other distribution studios and home video distributors to handle their titles. In North America for example, The Criterion Collection, Rialto Pictures, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (for the Embassy catalog), Universal Pictures (for co-productions), Shout! Factory and Kino Lorber distribute StudioCanal's back catalogue on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (in addition, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Image Entertainment previously owned several of their titles). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has handled distribution of StudioCanal/Hoyts Distribution films in Australia and New Zealand on DVD and Blu-ray since early 2013.

In the 1990s to early 2000s, Warner Home Video formerly handled distribution of StudioCanal titles through the Canal+ Image label in the United Kingdom on VHS and DVD until 2006 when StudioCanal opened its own distribution unit in the UK, with titles distributed through Optimum Releasing.[37]

StudioCanal had the European home video distribution rights to 550 titles from the Miramax library from 2011 to 2020,[38][39] when Paramount Pictures bought a minority stake in Miramax.

On October 13, 2021, StudioCanal announced that its global distribution deal with Universal would expire in January 2022.[40]

Selected films produced by StudioCanal or associated companies

Main article: List of StudioCanal films


  1. ^ Mulholland Drive at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Ross, Matthew (2007-06-21). "Kelly Fremon". Variety. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  3. ^ "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  4. ^ "Basic Instinct". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Tourist". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Lambie, Ryan (March 11, 2014). "The rise and fall of Carolco". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Lambie, Ryan (January 26, 2015). "Exclusive: CEO Alex Bafer Tells Us About The Return of Carolco". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Hammer, Joshua (March 8, 1992). "Total Free Fall". Newsweek. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  9. ^ Friendly, David T. (November 16, 1985). "De Laurentiis Rejoins The Ranks--at Embassy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Hopewell, John (October 20, 2012). "Lumiere rocks to French classics". Variety. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Mitchell, Wendy (December 17, 2012). "Network Distributing acquires rights to 450 films from StudioCanal library". Screen Daily. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  12. ^ "A.B. Pictures Acquire 50% Of Anglo Amalgamated." The Times [London, England]; April 5, 1962: 21. The Times Digital Archive.
  13. ^ "Associated British Picture Corporation." Sunday Times [London, England] September 3, 1967: 44. The Sunday Times Digital Archive.
  14. ^ a b "STUDIOCANAL". British Universities Film & Video Council.
  15. ^ Haflidason, Almar. "Ealing Comedy Boxset 2 DVD (1947-1953)". BBC Online. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  16. ^ French, Philip (August 9, 2014). "The Ealing Studios Collection Vol 1 review – Philip French on three immaculately restored Ealing classics". The Guardian. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  17. ^ "STUDIOCANAL acquires the Romulus Films catalogue". StudioCanal. April 6, 2021.
  18. ^ "Studiocanal Inks Library Deal with Classic Horror Brand Hammer Films". 30 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Studiocanal Acquires Library of 'The Intouchables' Producer". Variety. October 1, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Nartowicz, Alexandra (3 January 2003). "StudioCanal sells its share of Tobis". Cineuropa. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  21. ^ Hopewell, John (2 July 2001). "Vivendi U buys into Sogepaq". Variety. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  22. ^ Frater, Patrick (2 July 2002). "StudioCanal acquires 45% of Sogepaq for $36m". Screen International. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  23. ^ "StudioCanal acquires 45% of Sogepaq". Unifrance. 5 July 2001. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  24. ^ Meaux Saint Marc, Francoise (2 October 2002). "StudioCanal grabs Mars Films, gives Bac new hope". Screen International. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  25. ^ Meza, Ed (1 December 2002). "Viv U scootin' Teuton distrib". Variety. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  26. ^ "Viv U sells its Sogepaq stake". Variety. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  27. ^ "Celerier says Mars can do it all". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  28. ^ "StudioCanal Acquires 30% Of Mars Films; Appoints Didier Lupfer As President". Deadline Hollywood. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  29. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (20 August 2021). "Studiocanal to Operate Heavy-Hitting Mars Films Library as French Distributor Finalizes Restructuring". Variety. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  30. ^ "Studio Canal moves into Blighty". Variety. May 7, 2006.
  31. ^ "About Us". Elevation Sales. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  32. ^ Andrews, Sam (20 May 2007). "Optimum, Lionsgate to buy Elevation Sales". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  33. ^ "StudioCanal buys Kinowelt". Variety. January 17, 2008.
  34. ^ "Optimum, Kinowelt to be rebranded as StudioCanal". Screen Daily. June 30, 2011.
  35. ^ "Hoyts Distribution renamed STUDIOCANAL in Australia and New Zealand". IF Magazine. March 4, 2013. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013.
  36. ^ Keslassy, John Hopewell,Elsa (20 June 2016). "Studiocanal Acquires Paddington Bear Brand, Plans Third Paddington Movie".((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  37. ^ James, Alison; Dawtrey, Adam (2006-05-07). "Studio Canal moves into Blighty". Variety. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  38. ^ "Lionsgate, StudioCanal to distribute Miramax films". BusinessWeek. February 11, 2011.
  39. ^ "Lionsgate, Studiocanal and Miramax Enter Into Home Entertainment Distribution Agreements". Yahoo! Finance. February 11, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "'Terminator 2,' 'Basic Instinct' to Return to Studiocanal Distribution Portfolio as NBCUniversal Deal Ends – Global Bulletin". October 13, 2021.