Tuesday, April 13, 2010

30 Days To Cannes: EuropaCorp

EuropaCorp's Little White Lies aka Les Petits Mouchoirs by Guillaume Canet  from France is on the Tipped for Cannes list.. meanwhile The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, which had its world premiere at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival on April 9, received an extraordinary review from Screen .

And EuropaCorp is currently featured in Nikke Finke's Deadline Hollywood as it seeks to take its film I I Love You Phillip Morris away from Consolidated Pictures Group for North American distribution and put it into the hands of Newmarket.  Read it for news of a good fight.  The comments are especially telling.

Luc Besson's EuropaCorp is known in the US for its big films with 20th Century Fox, Sony, Disney and Lionsgate, films like Clash of the Titans or The Incredible Hulk.  However movie buffs and the older acquisitions executives will remember the buzz around Luc Besson's early film in 1985 Subway starring Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani which was picked up in the US by Island Pictures.

[Oops, IMDb lists Island and Island Pictures as two separate companies, but we know the company which in the space of one year -- 1985 to 1986 -- picked up and even produced (as Island Alive) such gems as Hector Babenco's Kiss of the Spider Woman, Tim Hunter's The River's Edge, Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law, Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have ItNobody's Fool starring Roseanne Arquette and Eric Roberts before anyone knew who Julia was, Alan Rudolph's Choose MeTrip to Bountiful written by Horton Foote, Nic Roeg's Insignificance. ] 

But I digress.

Luc Besson's partner Pierre-Ange Le Pogam had brought Besson into Gaumont where Le Pogam had worked 20 out of his 26 year career and they produced Subway, The Big Blue, Atlantis and the $100m epic Cannes opener The Fifth Element in 1997.  They left together with Taxi in 1998 when Gaumont turned the film down and the newly establshed ARP made a killing with it (6 million admissions in France alone and three other films in the franchise).  LionsGate picked up North America.

In Cannes 2000 Besson and Le Pogam decided to form EuropaCorp out of the projected 15m Euro return on the video sales they would make from Taxi 2.  They brought in French TV, some international partner-distributors and, on a film by film basis, some equity partners to finance the films.  Unless they could match 80% of their total risk, they would not make the movie.

In 2007 EuropaCorp went public to increase its leverage in Hollywood and to acquire the top tier classic film catalog of Roissy Films.  EuropaCorp is primarily a producer which, through its vertical organization has automatic distribution in France and international representation for the rest of trhe world which brings in 30-50% of its revenues.  It has always been profitable and continues to turn out films with a broad range of budgets.  2010 releases include the Besson-directed $37m picture The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec along with at least 6 other French and English language films. 

As announced in June 2009, EuropaCorp is joining forces with Euro Media Group and Quinta Communications in the “Studios de Paris”, a structure that will house 9 movie sets, each of which will cover 600 to 2,200 square meters at La Cité du Cinéma’s site at Saint-Denis. EuropaCorp will be a minority shareholder in the company operating the studios. Its investment will not exceed a maximum of 6 million euros. Euro Media Group, which owns various audiovisual production studios across Europe, will contribute its expertise to the running and management of the Studios de Paris.  The Group has signed a lease with “Nef Lumière”, the owner of the services complex, which will house the Ecole Louis Lumière and the offices of La Cité du Cinéma thus giving EuropaCorp access to a single location within which to accommodate its permanent teams and the film crews for each movie, while leaving complementary space for potential new activities.

Check out Cinando.com for their Cannes line up.

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