Helkon International Pictures (HIP) has unveiled its own network of distributor partners who will jointly release movies from Hollywood producers as well as originate its own big budget films that can be shot in Europe.
The consortium marks a concerted attempt to help level the playing field with Hollywood, giving Europe a creative voice proportionate to its new-found financing clout.
Joining Helkon in Germany are Eagle Pictures in Italy, Tri Pictures in Spain and Redbus Film Distribution in the UK, which had already announced its alliance with Helkon in March. HIP chiefs Werner Koenig and Christian Halsey-Solomon said that they expect deals in Scandinavia and Benelux to be closed by the end of the market. In France HIP is mulling over building its own structure.
"Buying alliances never worked before because the product was never good enough," said Solomon. "This structure cuts out the middleman, gives us better product at better terms because we're going straight to the source and gives us a share in the creative input." He also noted that the forthcoming public offerings of both Redbus parent company filmgroup and Eagle will create a more level footing with the already listed Helkon.
The first, previously announced supply deal is with Chuck Roven's Atlas Entertainment, with MGM handling domestic, Helkon distributing in Germany and a number of European territories and Toho-Towa taking Japan. John McTiernan's Rollerball is the first film to shoot for Atlas. Koenig said that HIP is in discussions with three other studio-based producers to feed the new alliance. "We have the same appetite and the same needs," he said of the partners.
Solomon also said that several of the films such as sci-fi movie The Chrysalids or historical drama K-19, could be shot in Europe. "If we're going to put up so much of the money, we want some of the jobs in Europe," said Solomon. "Europeans often feel like they are being raped by Hollywood. Rather than just financing their movies, we are trying to make Europe stronger as a continent."
He added that HIP is looking to finance a $60m English-language action picture which Tri and Eagle have originated, and that the structure plans to support local language films.