Fox International Productions‘ German operation had a big hit this year with The Break-Up Man, the comedy that grossed $24M locally and is being eyed as a U.S. remake. FIP Germany is now moving ahead on two new local-language projects. Shooting starts in late summer on the adaption of Andreas Steinhöfel’s children’s book Rico, Oskar And The Pasta Detectives. Neele Leana Vollmar is directing the story of friends Rico and Oskar. When Oskar disappears, Rico goes on a wild hunt throughout Berlin to save him. Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall) plays Rico’s mother with Elyas M’Barek (The Wave), Ronald Zehrfeld (Barbara) and Milan Peschl (What A Man) also aboard. Also upcoming is Marco Petry’s teen comedy Playing Doctor READ MORE »
Fox International Productions has taken distribution rights in Latin America, Germany and the U.S. on action thriller Mea Culpa which Gaumont is selling. The Fred Cavayé-directed pic stars Vincent Lindon, Gilles Lellouche and Nadine Labaki. The story follows a pair of good cops who’ve been longtime partners. Their lives go into a tailspin when one causes a tragic car accident. When his family is put in danger a few years after he exits the police force, he takes matters into his own hands. Cavayé’s previous films include Anything For Her, which was remade by Paul Haggis as The Next Three Days, and Point Blank, which is being developed as an English-language remake by Leverage and Working Title. Gaumont is screening exclusive footage of the pic for buyers here in Cannes. The $20M film bows in France in early 2014.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, goes the old saying. While the studios continue trying to crack the nut of getting Hollywood films into China, many of the majors also have a wider global strategy that’s proving lucrative both there and elsewhere: Local-language production. Hollywood’s involvement in the area is not new. But, increasingly, movies that are co-produced or distributed by the majors in such places as China, India, Germany, Italy, Spain, Korea and Latin America are finding themselves reaping strong returns.
The markets “are huge,” especially where local box office rivals that of Hollywood pictures. Homegrown films in China, for example, generally snag about 50% of the annual market share and are currently widely outperforming Hollywood films – this week’s Iron Man 3 notwithstanding. In India, the indigenous share of a $2B market can be as much as 90%. There’s an argument to be made that Chinese or Indian films don’t cross cultural borders, but with those kinds of numbers, “Why would the film need to travel?” posits an exec.
Richard Fox, EVP International for Warner Bros., says the studio is looking to develop relationships to make Chinese-language films. “There are a lot of moving pieces in assessing which countries to focus on,” but, “if it doesn’t recoup in the country of origin, we don’t get involved,” he says. Warner recently bet well in Mexico where its comedy Nosotros Los Nobles smashed records with the second biggest opening ever for a non-animated local film.
Another studio exec says local language production “is all relatively opportunistic.” It can be a distraction to try and stay abreast of local material, but “paying attention to local markets, filmmakers and stories around the world gets you more educated in terms of worldwide taste and emerging filmmakers.” Plus, “the minute you have a hit, it’s ‘How much money are we making? Why don’t we up this business?’” Here’s a look at how the studios are speaking in various tongues:
Back in May, News Corp announced a strategic investment in China’s Bona Film Group which gave it a 19.9% stake in the distributor. That deal did not include a production component, but today, Bona and News Corp.’s Fox International Productions have announced a multi-picture co-producing pact for Chinese-language films. FIP has already produced local-language pictures in China — and is very active in other international territories including Russia, Germany, Spain, Korea and India. Here’s the press release on today’s deal, which gives Fox deeper reach in a booming market:
FOX INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTIONS (FIP), a division of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, and BONA FILM GROUP LTD. (Nasdaq:BONA), one of China’s largest motion picture producers and distributors, today announced a multi-picture deal in which the two companies will together produce Chinese language films.
Under the agreement, the two companies will develop, produce and distribute films throughout China.
“This is a significant step in what we believe will be a long-term, multi-faceted collaboration with News Corp. and its subsidiary companies,” said Mr. Dong Yu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Bona Film Group Limited. “The films released under this partnership will combine Bona’s deep understanding of production, distribution and audience preferences in China with FIP’s international expertise to create movies that satisfy audiences’ growing demand for blockbuster characteristics. We look forward to the cooperation and anticipated opportunities with FIP.”
LOS ANGELES (May 3, 2012) __ Former Weinstein Company executive Laine Kline has joined Twentieth Century Fox as senior vice president of business affairs Fox International Productions. The announcement was made today by Fox’s executive vice presidents of business affairs Stephen Plum and Mark Resnick, to whom Kline will report. At Fox International Pictures, Kline will negotiate many of the company’s development, acquisition, co-productions, partnerships, financing and tax driven agreements and structures.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has formed Fox World Cinema, an outlet that will put prestige films from around the world out on DVD, VOD and Digital Download. It sounds like a welcome option for all those films that get great festival response but don’t quite justify the P&A spend …
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 3, 2011) – Sanford Panitch, President of Fox International Productions, announced today that principal photography for LOVE IN SPACE will begin March 8. The film will shoot on location in Beijing and Sydney, and stars Aaron Kwok, René Liu, Eason Chan, Kwai Lun Mei,