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Cannes: EuropaCorp Leads Group Of French Companies Looking Abroad To Overcome Local Theatrical Biz Limitations

Mike Fleming

Cannes for me is an exercise in chasing big-money movie deals, but I took the opportunity to meet several French companies WelcomeToNewYorkto get a view of the business from their side of the pond. Compared to the problems I hear from Hollywood, these guys struggle for growth in a French theatrical system that seems completely preposterous to an Americain.

In Hollywood, they whine about how hard it is to get a movie made; about a weekend crowded with three new releases; the inefficiency of big P&A spends to advertise on TV to ensure moviegoers show up opening weekend; and the six-month wait for DVD and VOD. In France, a heavily subsidized system makes getting movies made the easy part. The downside: 15-18 films open week in and week out; TV advertising is outlawed, and the wait for DVD and VOD is an eternity compared to the U.S. Small wonder several of the major French companies are looking outside elsewhere for growth.

Related: Cannes: EuropaCorp Signs $450M Credit Facility To Finance English-Language Pics

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)For a company like Gaumont, that means supplementing Centrée Français fare by hatching U.S. market TV hits like Hannibal. Wild Bunch’s core business is backing gutsy films like Blue Is The Warmest Color, but at this Cannes, the company created a stir showing a film before its precedent-setting straight-to-VOD release. Welcome To New York is Abel Ferrara’s lurid drama that stars Gerard Depardieu as a crass, horny money man based on former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who cut a decadent swath around the world before being arrested for allegedly mauling a maid in a New York hotel. Because Wild Bunch bypassed theaters, it could spend $1 million on TV ads, creating more awareness than if it had gone theatrical and could not advertise. Success will mean more films with bigger stars test this new market and that could be as disruptive to France’s arcane theatrical machine as the current crop of pay and cable TV series like True Detective feel compared to the derivative product churned out by Hollywood movie studios.

Related: Cannes: Abel Ferrara’s Sex Scandal Pic ‘Welcome To New York’ Penetrates La Plage

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Global Showbiz Briefs: News Corp’s Oz Fight, New China Animation Studio & More,

By | Wednesday March 13, 2013 @ 8:52pm PDT

Australian Government Prepares For Fight Over Media Reforms
News Corp warns that media reforms introduced to Parliament on Thursday local time could harm the company’s new publishing spinoff and may be challenged in the High Court. Kim Williams, CEO of Australia’s News Limited, attacked the proposal to create a public interest media advocate, which would have the power to approve or reject mergers and takeovers and oversee self-regulatory bodies such as the Australian Press Council. He described the legislation as an attempt by the Labor Government to “constrain and harness News Limited” and said the reforms may hurt the asset values of the new News Corp. The government also proposes creating a parliamentary committee to examine abolition of the rule prohibiting a broadcaster from reaching more than 75% of the country. The Liberal/National Party Coalition, which is heavily favored to win the federal election in September, has vowed to block or repeal the legislation. - Don Groves
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EuropaCorp Names Lisa Ellzey To Spearhead U.S. Motion Picture Production Surge

By | Thursday March 7, 2013 @ 10:23am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Signaling an intention by EuropaCorp to ramp up Stateside production, principals Luc Besson and CEO Christophe Lambert have set veteran production executive and producer Lisa Ellzey to join EuropaCorp as executive vice president of U.S. Motion Picture Production. Ellzey, a Golden Globe and Emmy-winning producer, most recently was executive vice president of production at Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox. She will report directly to Lambert. I’ve heard EuropaCorp’s intention will be to generate as many as five film projects per year here when things get up and running. The company is very prolific from its base in France. Read More »

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