UPDATE: Mexican media giant Televisa is forming a film company with and Lion Gate Entertainment announced the launch of Pantelion Films, a joint venture designed to target Hispanic moviegoers in the U.S., the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. moviegoer population.

The agreement is build on a previous deal that Lions Gate had with Televisa to tap the U.S. Latino film market, a growing sector in the theater business. The joint venture, Pantelion Films, is designed to produce and distribute eight to 10 films a year over the next five years.

UPDATE: Lions Gate and Televisa are expected to announce the Pantelion venture today. The new venture was unveiled at a New York City press conference today by Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Grupo Televisa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Emilio Azcarraga.

Pantelion's films will be distribuited in top three U.S. theatrical exhibitors, representing more than 50% of U.S. screens, and the new venture is in active discussions with major exhibitors for showcasing its slate.

The movies produced and distributed under the Pantelion label are expected to have modest budgets, and some will be released in limited number of theaters. Lions Gate has had a partnership with Televisa for the last two years whereby Lions Gate has released movies from Televisa's film library in the U.S.

UPDATE: Pantelion was immediately hailed by the top three U.S. theatrical exhibitors, representing more than 50% of U.S. screens, and the new venture is in active discussions with major exhibitors for showcasing its slate.

The films will represent a mix of genres, as varied as romantic comedies and action thrillers. Some will be presented in English and some in Spanish. Pantelion’s first title, “From Prada to Nada,” about two spoiled rich sisters who are forced to move in with their poor aunt in East Los Angeles, is scheduled for release in January.

Lionsgate has also been quietly experimenting with Spanish-language releases, finding moderate success with tiny films like “La Mujer de Mi Hermano” (“My Brother’s Wife”), which sold about $5 million in tickets in 2006.

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