With the studios making fewer films and concentrating on higher budget “four quadrant” fare, the indies have the chance to step into the breach, panelists said.
With the Hollywood majors concentrating on bigger tentpole pictures, there is increased opportunity for the independents. That was one of the main messages from panelists at
yesterday’s AFM Finance Conference on “The Expanding Role Of Local Distributors in Production and Finance.”
With the studios making fewer films and concentrating on higher budget “four quadrant” fare, the indies have the chance to step into the breach.
“I think one of the best opportunities right now is that $10 to $40 million movie that the studios have retreated from,” Graham Taylor, Head Of Global Finance & Distribution Group, WME, told a packed audience in the Fairmont Miramar.
“There is an opportunity for the independents to make intelligent dramas and great cinema,” agreed Danny Perkins, CEO of UK distributor of Optimum Releasing.
The panelists were also upbeat about the continuing benefits of multi-territory distribution.
“Having three territories is a great place to finance films from,” Perkins commented of Optimum’s part of the StudioCanal empire (also including Kinowelt in Germany). “You have
strong pay-television in France and Germany. You have a very healthy video market in the UK…you have three territories and three markets where there is theatrical and television. You’ve got
different ways of making money through the films.”
Another panelist, Stewart Till, Chief Executive of the Icon Group, argued that multi-territory releasing was as relevant now as in the late 1990s, when PolyGram Filmed
Entertainment was pursuing an aggressive pan-European distribution territory.
“It gives you huge advantages,” Till said. “You’re buying wholesale rather than retail. From a marketing point of view, you can control the marketing.”
In the wake of the economic downturn, Till argued that “there was far less clutter” in the marketplace and fewer films were being made that had no realistic prospect of securing
widespread release. “I do think we’re in a better place than when that whole hedge fund/private equity money (meant) that a lot of very bad filmsbeing made very easily.”
Screen International editor Mike Goodridge moderated the discussion.