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StudioCanal acquires Hoyts, plans local productions

StudioCanal has bought successful Australia and New Zealand distributor Hoyts Distribution of the Hoyts Group; the outfit will release last Twilight instalment in November.

In a bold addition to its impressive slate of European distribution entities, StudioCanal has acquired Australia and Zealand outfit Hoyts, which has seen significant success in recent years with hits including the Twilight and Saw franchises.

Hoyts has a library of more than 120 titles and will releases the last part in the blockbuster Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, in November.

The plan going forward, in line with the company’s acquisition of Optimum in the UK and Kinowelt in Germany, will be to bolster Hoyts’ local acquisitions with StudioCanal’s international productions.

“The aim will be to strengthen the company and bring it more and bigger titles,” StudioCanal CEO Olivier Courson told Screen. “We’ll be able to extend our successful multi-territory licensing to a fourth market for a marginal price. Similar projects work in the UK and Australia so there is real crossover.”

“This is a dynamic market,” he continued. “We have been analyzing the world situation and thought it could be worth us moving away from our base but to a market that is still among the world’s top ten. It is bigger than Italy and Spain.”

StudioCanal was buoyed by the impressive local numbers for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [more than $8m] and hope to replicate those numbers with similar English-language titles. Courson also wants to foster local productions in the market.

“There is great local talent and we are excited by the local tax incentives. We believe we can structure interesting local productions there,” he said.

The current staff, headed by CEO Robert Slaviero, will remain in tact but in time Courson said he wants to add staff to drive the local production element.

“The Hoyts team has a very strong reputation and it will remain in place,” added Courson.

CEO Robert Slaviero said of the acquisition: “This is great for the business and we are so pleased about the exciting times ahead. StudioCanal is a strong distribution business that produces its own content and acquires product. We’re extremely proud to be part of its growing success.”

The acquisition is for Hoyts Distribution alone and does not include Hoyts Exhibition of Val Morgan.

StudioCanal is currently financing the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Susane Bier’s Serena, Dan Mazer’s I Give it a Year, Billy and Buddy and David Heyman-produced Paddington.

Twitter: @andreaswiseman

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