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STUDIOCANAL acquires the Romulus Films catalogue

April 6th, 2021

STUDIOCANAL today announce they 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.



STUDIOCANAL, a 100% affiliate of CANAL+ Group held by Vivendi, is Europe’s leader in production, distribution and international sales of feature films and TV series, operating directly in all three major European markets – France, the United Kingdom and Germany – as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

STUDIOCANAL owns one of the most important film libraries in the world, boasting nearly, 6,000 titles from 60 countries. Spanning 100 years of film history, this vast and unique catalogue includes among others the iconic Terminator 2RamboBreathlessMulholland DriveThe Pianist, The Graduate, The Third Man, and Belle de jour.

STUDIOCANAL has fully financed box office hits Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Paddington 1 and 2, The Commuter and Shaun the Sheep Movie. Upcoming films backed by STUDIOCANAL include Will Sharpe’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, Augustine Frizzell’s The Last Letter from your Lover adapted from Jojo Moyes’ best-selling novel, Navot Papushado’s female action thriller Gunpowder Milkshake and Gil Kenan’s live action A Boy called Christmas.

STUDIOCANAL is actively producing and developing a slate of premium international TV series in-house, as well as through its network of award-winning subsidiary production companies, which includes Germany’s TANDEM Productions (Shadowplay), the UK’s RED Production Company (Years and Years, It’s a Sin, Finding Alice), URBAN MYTH FILMS (War of the Worlds) and Spain’s BAMBÚ PRODUCCIONES (Instinto). The company is also an associate of Danish-based SAM Productions founded by Søren Sveistrup, Adam Price, and Meta Louise Foldager (Ride Upon the Storm) and Benedict Cumberbatch’s SUNNYMARCH TV (Patrick Melrose) 

STUDIOCANAL produces more than 200 hours of TV series each year distributing productions and CANAL+ Creation Originale worldwide with 1,000 hours of current and library content in distribution.



Independent UK production and distribution company active from 1951 to the late 1960s.

The highlights of the catalogue are the films produced with John Huston (African Queen, Moulin Rouge, Beat The Devil) and Laurence Olivier (Richard III) and the award winning Room at the Top that also launched the career of Laurence Harvey and director Jack Clayton, as well as a series of solid genre films specifically thrillers and dramas. 

The company was started in 1948 by brothers John (1913-1999) and James (1919-1966) as an independent production company. The brothers also started in the same year a distribution company: Independent Film Distributors (which operated between 1950 and 1959). 

The brothers were the sons of C M Woolf, one of the first film distributors in the UK and founder of General Film Distributors that went on to become The Rank Organization (whose library is now part of the ITV catalogue).

John Woolf worked for GFD before WW2 becoming its managing director while James worked for Columbia Pictures (first in London then in Los Angeles).

Romulus Films was born to produce and market quality films with an International appeal often working with new and upcoming talent behind the camera and established stars in front of them.

By the mid 1960s the two brothers were developing projects independently but with the sudden death of James in 1966 and John’s involvement in the establishing of the Anglia Television franchise (as well as due to the economic crisis for British Cinema of the late 60s) the Romulus output progressively dried out.


For further information please contact:

Romulus Films:

Nick Varley


Tel: +44 7921 066 401