The film industry needs a young Steve Jobs. That’s one message that Nigel Sinclair, co-chairman and CEO of Exclusive Media, delivered to the Zurich Film Finance Forum today.
“What the digital world means in production is relatively straightforward, but looking at distribution, there is a lot of potential for change,” the Scotland-born, LA-based executive told Screen ahead of his keynote speech at the Dolder Grand.
“We’re looking at a massive sea-change in the way entertainment is priced and supplied. Digital delivery of films breaks up windows and that creates economic problems for the industry as it is currently structured. Some people are changing, but some aren’t.
“What’s really going to be the big change is curating a highly skilled navigation system to find films, like the Genius function on Apple’s iTunes that selects songs for you.”
“Distribution executives now are Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, so it’s going to take a new entrepreneur to come in and create a branded destination to find movies.
“We need a young Steve Jobs. I think there’s room for young entrants to disrupt this space. They may not go directly into film distribution, but work in a related platform.”
Exhibition also has a great opportunity – with occupancy as low as 5% at some times during the week, he predicts “the next stage will be people programming their local cinema like a jukebox”.
Exclusive co-financed and co-produced - with Cross Creek Pictures - Zurich opening night film Rush directed by Ron Howard, as well as producing Peter Landesman’s Parkland, which also screens in Zurich.
The company had a huge Toronto, with its other projects including Therese, Can A Song Save Your Life? (acquired by The Weinstein Company), Metallica: Through The Never, The Green Inferno, and The Face of Love. For Rush fans, the company has also finished Formula 1 documentary 1.
Exclusive is now moving into North American distribution through its arm Exclusive Releasing, which launches Parkland on Oct 4.
The company is thriving in the top-end independent production space that the studios formerly occupied more frequently.
Sinclair added: “It’s been a steady evolving trend toward independent capital. Entrepreneurial companies such as us are working well with independent capital….We have seen steady growth. And our seven films in Toronto feel like quite an achievement.”
Forthcoming productions include The Woman in Black follow-up, Angel of Death, and comedy Skiptrace starring Jackie Chan and Fan Bing Bing.
“We’re trying to build up the production and creative side, and then the rest builds from that, like our strength in international sales and domestic distribution. The value of creativity permeates everything we do.”