StudioCanal S.A.S. (formerly known as Le Studio Canal+, Canal Plus, Canal+ Distribution, Canal+ D.A., and Canal+ Production, and also known as StudioCanal International) is a French film production and distribution company. The company is a subsidiary of the Canal+ Group, owned by Vivendi. As of May 2024 the company has 14 production companies in Europe and the US, and holds around 9,000 titles in its extensive film library.

StudioCanal S.A.S.
FormerlyCanal+ Production (1984–1990)
Le Studio Canal+ (1990–2000)
Canal+ D.A. (1992–2000)
Company typeSubsidiary
Film distribution
FoundedSeptember 7, 1984; 39 years ago (1984-09-07)
FounderPierre Lescure
Area served
Key people
Maxime Saada (Chairman)
Anna Marsh (CEO)
ParentCanal+ Group
  • StudioCanal Australia
  • StudioCanal GmbH
  • StudioCanal Original
  • StudioCanal Stories
  • StudioCanal UK



On 1 January 1987, Canal+ Productions was founded as a cinema film co-production subsidiary of the cable channel which had been established in November 1984, Canal+. The subscription channel was co-founded by André Rousselet[1] and Pierre Lescure.[2][3] This was to reduce Canal+'s dependence on the American major studios by building its own library that the pay-TV channel could use on their own channels and internationally.[1]

By December 1990, Canal+ Productions rebranded to Le Studio Canal+, and released its first film, The Double Life of Veronique, by Krzysztof Kieslowski.[3] By the early 1990s, it became apparent that Canal+ was a major contributor to the French film industry, with its obligation to spend 10% of its income on French-made films, as well as being Europe's largest buyer of American film rights.[1] Canal+ also made investments in other companies. In 1991 it bought a five percent stake in the independent American studio Carolco Pictures.[1] However, in 1992, Le Studio Canal+ suffered financial difficulties after Carolco Pictures entered a corporate restructure.[citation needed]

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+.[citation needed]

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.[4] 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. Films such as 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, have been big box-office hits for StudioCanal.[5][6][7]

In January 1996, Le Studio Canal+ made a $56 million bid for Carolco Pictures' library. 20th Century Fox, which had originally agreed to buy the library for $50 million, had dropped their bid to $47.5 million and ultimately dropped out of contention, making this acquisition Canal+'s first foray into library acquisitions.[8][9]

Le Studio Canal+'s original plan was to build a pan-European distribution network. They 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.[10]

On 1 December 1998, all of Canal+ film, television, music, video production activities, etc., were grouped into a new entity, Canal+ Image, which was rebranded as StudioCanal in 2000.[3]

In July 2001, StudioCanal acquired a 45% stake in the Sogepaq division of Spain's Sogecable (Vivendi Universal owned 21% of Sogecable at the time) for $36.2 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.[11][12][13] In October 2002, StudioCanal and BAC Majestic parted ways, terms of the deal included the sale of Mars Distribution to StudioCanal; the joint venture BAC Distribution, majority owned by StudioCanal, would shut down and revert to BAC Majestic.[14]

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

  • Tobis StudioCanal was subject to a management buyout by CEO Kilian Rebentrost and shareholder Pathé in December 2002 and renamed back to Tobis Film, although the two companies maintained their business relations.[15][10]
  • Sogepaq was sold back to Sogecable in July 2003 for £48 million ($54.2 million).[16]
  • Mars Films split from StudioCanal in 2007 to become independent; StudioCanal would later buy a 30% stake in the company in September 2015 and begin controlling its library in August 2021.[17][18][19]

Three years later, StudioCanal re-entered the international market by acquiring film distributor Optimum Releasing in May 2006 as their first expansion into the United Kingdom, releasing their British film and television catalogue, including the EMI Films library, through the newly acquired company.[20] A year later, Optimum Home Entertainment and Lionsgate UK acquired Elevation Sales, a home entertainment sales and distribution company.[21][22] In January 2008, StudioCanal entered their second expansion into the international market with the acquisition of German-based film independent distributor Kinowelt, which had distributed StudioCanal's films until then, marking a re-entry for StudioCanal into the German market.[23][3] Kinowelt also owned the DVD label Arthaus. Both Optimum Releasing and Kinowelt have since been merged into StudioCanal and rebranded as StudioCanal UK and StudioCanal GmbH respectively.[24]

In January 2012, StudioCanal expanded its European operations by acquiring a majority stake in Munich-based producer and distributor Tandem Productions, marking the company's first major move into television production; it would buy out the company's remaining shares in May 2020.[25][26]

In April 2012, StudioCanal announced its acquisition of the Australian and New Zealand independent film distributor Hoyts Distribution from Hoyts, marking StudioCanal's first acquisition outside of Europe. The following April, Hoyts Distribution was rebranded under the StudioCanal banner.[27]

In December 2013, StudioCanal announced its acquisition of a majority stake in the British independent TV production company Red Production Company, marking StudioCanal's entry into the UK television drama production industry.[28]

In September 2014, StudioCanal announced a first-look deal with the newly established American entertainment company The Picture Company, founded by former Silver Pictures employees Andrew Rona and Alex Heinemann. The deal was extended in May 2023, with StudioCanal acquiring a minority stake in the company alongside a new five-year deal.[29]

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.[30]

In July 2021, StudioCanal announced its acquisition of German production company Lailaps Films.[31]

In June 2022, StudioCanal announced that it had acquired a majority stake Utrecht-based independent film production and distribution firm Dutch FilmWorks, marking an expansion into the Benelux for StudioCanal.[32]

In April 2024, it was announced that StudioCanal had launched a new label dedicated to publishing book-to-screen adaptations called StudioCanal Stories.[33]

As of May 2024 the company has 14 production companies in Europe and the US.[34]



Anna Marsh was CEO of Studiocanal in 2019 until October 2022, when she was Deputy CEO of Canal+ Group. She had joined Studiocanal in 2008, and been formerly held positions such as head of international sales and managing director of StudioCanal UK.[35]

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.[citation needed] As of 2024 the company holds more than 9,000 titles.[34]

StudioCanal owns the libraries of the following companies:

Former agreements


Television series


StudioCanal currently[when?] 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[citation needed]



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! Studios 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.

From the 1990s to early 2000s, Warner Home Video formerly handled distribution of select 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 (via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment from 2006 to 2007 and Elevation Sales since 2007).[50]

StudioCanal had the European home video distribution rights to 550 titles from the Miramax library from 2011 to 2020,[51][52] when ViacomCBS bought a minority stake in Miramax.

On 13 October 2021, StudioCanal announced that its global distribution deal with Universal would expire in January 2022. Later that year, they started distributing their home media releases through Plaion Pictures in Germany. In early 2024, they started distributing their home media releases in France through ESC Distribution.[53]

Selected films produced by StudioCanal or associated companies



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