In a keynote address on Tuesday (11), Fox International co-president Tomas Jegeus assured Brazilian producers and industry personnel that local language films and major US releases were mutually beneficial and essential for market growth.
“We believe there’s a strong local film industry,” Jegeus said. “We can invest and help distribute these movies around the world. A local film market is a strong film market.”
The executive cited Brazil as a prime example of territories where local features have gained traction. Market share has climbed more than 32% in Brazil from 2009 to 2010, rising from 14.2% to 18.8%. For the record, market share in China has declined from 56.5% to 56.3% while in India it has dropped from 95% to 90%.
The extraordinary success of Jose Padilha’s Elite Squad 2 (Tropa De Elite 2) is illustrative, Jegeus said, of the appetite for local fare. The crime thriller opened last year in Brazil and grossed $104m to become the biggest release in history, outstripping Avatar and every other US tentpole.
Jegeus used the address to deliver a marketing masterclass and offered insight into the importance of customised advertising materials on international campaigns. The tailor-made approach has generated success for Fox outside North America on such films as the aptly-named Rio, Black Swan and Rise Of The Planet of The Apes (pictured), which he expected to reach $285m.
At a time of revolutionary technological change and fierce competition from alternative entertainment platforms, the industry veteran said marketing strategies had to adapt or die.
“I believe marketing strategies are based on how we were doing things back in 1999,” Jegeus said. “We have to adopt creative campaigns for every market and one of the things is to break down your audience into, say, 20 sub-groups and think about how to reach them.
“You have to innovate. Movie posters are no longer enough – you have to disrupt. Nobody wants to watch advertising any more, so you have to grab them by the collar and make them take notice. You have to influence pop culture through publicity and create interest in an event.”
By way of example, Jegeus told how Fox booked a massive billboard in the UK to promote Gulliver’s Travels, projected images of Avatar on to the world’s largest sphere in Taiwan, and hired an English field next to the 17th century Cerne Abbas giant fertility symbol in Dorset and commissioned a huge outline of Homer Simpson brandishing a doughnut.
In a wide-ranging talk that placed faith in the future of 3D, ongoing international box office growth and anti-piracy efforts, Jegeus also predicted an exhibition surge in Brazil.
“There need to be more screens and we believe we are going to see [exhibition] growth in the next five to ten years, which is great for us in the US and also for local producers.”
Jegeus serves as co-president of Fox International with Paul Hanneman.