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Studiocanal Raises More Film Financing: Says It Won’t Have To Borrow To Fund Slate

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 5:16am PDT

DEADLINE PARIS: The French pay-TV giant today unveiled a slate financing deal worth €150 million ($203.9 million) over the next three years. The money will cover 30% of the budgets of all Studiocanal’s international productions. This means that Studiocanal will now be spending €200 million a year on movie production. London-based finance house Anton Capital Entertainment (ACE) has raised the money through a mixture of U.S banks and undisclosed European financial institutions. Union Bank and Bank of America are among the U.S. lenders involved in the deal. Today’s announcement is intended to establish Studiocanal’s spot as the first port of call outside the U.S. for intelligent upmarket movies like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which is fully financed. Olivier Courson, chairman/CEO of Studiocanal, says it is the first time a European mini-major has used the kind of slate funding which got Wall Street into such trouble five years ago. Some U.S. investors lost their shirts throwing millions of dollars at Hollywood.

Asked how he would reassure investors burnt by previous Hollywood slate fund deals, Courson said the difference this time around is that Studiocanal is producing a much more diversified slate and not just a handful of blockbusters. Courson says most Hollywood studios have operating profits of less than 10%, partly because of the ballooning cost of production, “crazy” marketing spends, and limited slates aimed at teenagers. Studiocanal, on the other hand, is on track to make a 14% profit this year on sales from a diversified slate of E400 million. “The deal means we will be able to increase our investment capacity, and we don’t have to find partners for each new film. To date we have not had to borrow money to fund our films,” says Courson.

Courson says Studiocanal is interested in financing the next Black Swan or The Social Network: “the kind of films which the studios have largely abandoned”. Paris-based Studiocanal is already riding high on the UK success of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Courson also wants to make more animated family films, and upmarket genre films such as the just-announced The Last Exorcism 2. Read More »

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Toronto: Coen Brothers Firm Next Film — Without Domestic Distributor

By | Friday September 9, 2011 @ 2:12pm PDT
Mike Fleming

If there is one thing that buyers at the Toronto Film Festival have lamented so far, it’s that many of the strongest titles were bought by distributors at script stage. Imagine the bidding that would occur if a Coen Brothers film would bring if it came to a festival without a partner? It could happen. Joel and Ethan Coen have their next film, and while the project has been on the rumor mill, the surprise is that Inside Llewyn Davis will be made without a domestic distribution partner. The film’s focus is the early folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the 60s, and the Coens and their producing partner Scott Rudin are making it with only an alignment with Studio Canal, which will distribute in France and some other territories, and look to sell the rest of foreign down the line. 

The Coens wrote the script, and they have the usual number of stars lining up to play characters loosely based on folk singers like Dave Van Ronk and Tom Paxton. The brothers are also back in business with Rudin, their producing partner on the Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men and their last film, True Grit. Shooting will start early next year in New York. Read More »

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