An advertising snafu for biopic Diana has been cleared up in Paris. Over the weekend, a poster for the Naomi Watts-starrer was placed at the Place de l’Alma, near the entrance to the tunnel where the Princess of Wales died in a fatal 1997 car accident. The poster’s proximity to the crash site — and to the Flame of Liberty, in reality a gift to the city of Paris from The International Herald Tribune, but unofficially adopted as a monument to Diana following her death — drew loud criticism from the UK press and sparked upset on social media as photos of the poster popped up on the Web. JCDecaux, the advertising agency which placed the ads, tells me it received no phone calls or complaints, but that the posters were removed at the request of French distributor Le Pacte. A spokesperson at Le Pacte confirmed the posters were removed this afternoon Paris time and explained that the exact locations of posters are not hand-picked when a campaign is laid out. Rather they’re part of “global networks that include several hundred, even thousands of posters.” Given there are several thousand Diana posters around Paris right now, the person said the Place de l’Alma positioning was “a coincidence.”
Dylan Wiley‘s promotion comes a day after eOne announced that eOne Films U.S. president Michael Rosenberg would be stepping down at the end of next month. Wiley, upped to SVP and General Manager of eOne Films U.S., will oversee U.S. film marketing activities in theatrical, digital and home entertainment; Rosenberg had responsibility for the home entertainment unit among other duties. Wiley will also extend his oversight of theatrical sales into managing the company’s TV and digital sales in the U.S. He will continue to report to David Reckziegel, President of eOne Films North America. “The global film business and windowing patterns have evolved and we recognize that it is more important than ever to take a holistic approach to marketing and distribution”, Reckziegel said in announcing the move. “This is most significant in the U.S. market where release patterns are constantly evolving.” Wiley joined eOne in August 2011 from previous stints at RKO Pictures and New Line, helping to launch the company’s U.S. theatrical distribution division that has focused on limited-release art house indies, foreign films and feature documentaries. It is beefing up its profile though with deals for the upcoming Princess Di biopic Diana starring Naomi Watts and David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars.
BREAKING… Entertainment One will release Diana, the Princess Diana biopic starring Naomi Watts, on November 1 in the U.S. in limited nationwide release. The distributor plans an expansion in subsequent weeks. The Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret love affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death was one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the Cannes Film Festival, and eOne bought the rights from Embankment Films and Ecosse Films. The deal for the newbie distributor and now the release date firmly in Oscar season certainly puts Watts in the Best Actress conversation. Here’s the trailer for it that dropped earlier this month:
Naomi Watts is Princess Di in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s biopic Diana, chronicling the Princess of Wales’ last two years and relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews). EOne snagged the pic out of Cannes and is eyeing an Oscar season stateside debut. The US trailer will be out soon; until then, here’s the first-look UK version:
Entertainment One completed its acquisition of Alliance Films in January, expanding its distribution network to include the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, Spain, South Africa and Benelux. The company today reports a 40% increase in revenues for the first quarter ended June 30 as compared to the same period last year, driven in part by digital revenues which more than doubled. Its investment in content and programming has jumped 85% and the company says full-year earnings are in line with management expectations. Revenues from film have increased by over 65% on the prior year with 68 theatrical releases and box office of $68M, three times the 2012 result. At its first Cannes as a combined group this year, it scooped up multi-territories on Naomi Watts-starrer Diana, one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the market. Also among the roughly 250 films eOne will release during the current financial year are The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, RED 2 and Ender’s Game. On the TV side, the 2013 production slate includes Season 2 of Saving Hope, Season 3 of Hell On Wheels and Season 4 of Haven. New shows in production include Discovery miniseries Klondike. Net debt at June 30 was higher than the corresponding point in 2012, primarily as a result of the Alliance acquisition, the company said.
Entertainment One has released a UK teaser trailer for Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death. Naomi Watts stars in the pic with Naveen Andrews as Dr. Hasnat Khan, the Pakistani heart surgeon Diana dated before meeting Dodi Fayed. Stephen Jeffreys wrote the script. The film was a hot property in Cannes last month where eOne made the acquisition for the U.S., the UK, Canada and Spain. The film goes out in the UK on September 20.
Cannes: EOne Announces Itself As Player In U.S. Distribution By Acquiring Naomi Watts-Starrer ‘Diana’
EXCLUSIVE: Entertainment One has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret love affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death. With Naomi Watts as the princess, this was one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the Cannes Film Festival and eOne bought the rights from Embankment Films and Ecosse Films. eOne will also distribute with major releases in the UK, Canada and Spain with the U.S. film coming in Oscar season later this year.
Hirschbiegel helmed the Oscar-nominated Downfall, and screenwriter Stephen Jeffreys wrote The Libertine. Watts, coming off an Oscar nom for The Impossible, stars with Naveen Andrews (best known for ABC’s Lost and The English Patient) in this drama about Diana’s covert love affair with Dr. Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon. This happened in the last two years of her life, before she met Dodi Fayed, and the need for privacy led to her meeting her lover in disguises. This gave her a sense of living an anonymous life, but her incredible worldwide fame became an issue. The film is produced by Ecosse Films’ Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae.
Ah, Cannes got off to such a nice, sunny start. But the skies opened up this evening with rain and thunder, and buyers tomorrow morning are going to have to deal with the clash of two high priority acquisition titles that are screening at the same time. At 10 AM Thursday, Pathe will show seven minutes of footage from the Stephen Frears-directed Philomena, the film that stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It’s the true story of an Irish woman who searches for the illegitimate son she gave up for adoption in the U.S. That screening will be held at Arcades 2.
Starting at exactly the same moment, Embankment Films has a private screening of Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed Diana, with Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews starring in the chronicle of Princess Diana’s romance with a Pakistani surgeon just before her death. That one’s being held at the Olympia 1. I’d heard rumors that some might have seen this film before they left LA for Cannes, but buyers aren’t happy. They will have to split their acquisition teams and nobody likes to bid without a proper consensus. You can’t see both, especially if you are battling the pouring rain.