As anticipated, boutique sales house Wild Bunch has announced its separation from parent outfit StudioCanal. The new entity is set to be called Exception.
To be run by Wild Bunch president Vincent Maraval along with former StudioCanal chief Brahim Chioua, (pictured) Exception will be 100% independent but will also continue to work with the films already on its slate which it had been fed via StudioCanal.
Wild Bunch has been a strong presence on the international scene since its creation at Cannes in 1999. The company has worked with a bevy of talents from Olivier Assayas to Olivier Megaton and counts the current French smash L'Auberge Espagnol among its titles.
Dating back to the Vivendi Universal merger, the raisons d'etre for both Wild Bunch and StudioCanal have been called into question with the reasoning that at some point the companies would either be folded into one or edged out. With Vivendi Universal in upheaval over the past few months, even more speculation has swirled around what would become of the companies.
With about "Ninety percent of the team at StudioCanal leaving," according to one source with knowledge of the situation, it seems appropriate for Maraval and Co. to make a move. StudioCanal continues to operate but it is understood that a restructuring is underway.
Published reports cite StudioCanal director Richard Lenormand denying the departure of key producers and instead insisting that activities will be focused on production with those three major players as well as others for a total of 10 to 15 films per year.
In other StudioCanal news, it is believed that StudioCanal is in negotiations to exchange its 80% holding of independent distributor Bac against a large stake in Bac boutique arm Mars Films. Executives were unavailable for comment at press time but one source close to the proceedings confirmed that talks were underway.