Although the financial crisis worsened in Europe this year, a bright spot emerging is the region’s film financing. I’m told that European investors who have become increasingly skittish about putting money into the markets are more seriously eyeing film investment as a safer bet. the same time, producers and studios want to let outsiders in to mitigate risk. among other projects has signed a $200 million slate financing pact with London-based private fund Anton Capital Entertanment. But on a down note for France, the end of the year has been marked by upset in the post-production sector with the financial turmoil at Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Industries and the future of dozens of films in jeopardy. The next year will see much hand-wringing over a sector that has moved to digital at a breakneck – some would say reckless – pace. Buyers were in fine fettle at the Cannes Film Festival with many deals concluded and a sense that smart money and realistic prices have returned. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Cannes’ persona non grata Lars von Trier and his controversial “Nazi” remarks. Cannes programmer Thierry Frémaux in 2012 faces the daunting challenge of coming up with a better selection than his 2011 vintage which found favor with the typically harsh Riviera audience.
in December, the oft-morphing Senator entered a long-term strategic partnership with Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity which also took a significant stake in the producer-distributor. other German news, there were troubles at Degeto, the film acquisition arm of broadcaster ARD whose chief, Hans-Wolfgang Jurgan, was let go in November following revelations that the company had overspent its budget. erman independent producers were particularly anguished given Degeto’s position as a prime co-production partner. he situation remains somewhat tenuous and will likely be a hot topic at the Berlin Film Fest in February.
Hollywood producer Andy Vajna rode to the rescue earlier this year by winning approval for a plan to overhaul the country’s film funding system.
went through its own shake-up in November when media baron Silvio Berlusconi resigned as Prime Minister – a move welcomed by critics who have long held that politics and his media empire were strange bedfellows. late December, Alberto Barbera was named to succeed Marco Mueller as head of the Venice Film Festival leading to speculation about where Mueller will head next.
ailing Dutch reality giant Endemol was reportedly given an extension after it failed to reach a deal to restructure its $3. billion debt. Time Warner in December made an unsolicited bid for the company of $1. 4 billion in cash.
broadcasters Antena 3 and LaSexta agreed to a merger near the end of the year, but channels are investing less in local film production in general leading to fewer local films being produced. A new subsidy system is to be announced at the beginning of the year with the industry concerned over an expected drop in the funding envelope and more rigorous requirements for producers.
The salacious dealings led not only to the paper’s closure but also to the sinking of a $14 billion deal for Murdoch’s News Corp to acquire the 61% of UK broadcaster BSkyB it does not already own. ry Murdoch appeared before a parliamentary panel this July with his embattled son James, but he would have had more than egg on his face if wife Wendi Deng hadn’t been there to fend off a shaving-cream pie attack. other News Corp news, the conglomerate acquired scion Elisabeth Murdoch’s TV production company Shine for £415 million in February. rdoch senior caught flack for that too. He may ultimately testify before the already long-drawn out Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics when it resumes next year. Riots in London in August had a particular impact on Sony which suffered big losses in a north London warehouse fire. On the VOD front, Netflix and Amazon have been waging a war of one-upmanship this year. Amazon completed its acquisition of the UK’s Netflix-similar LoveFilm in January and has been signing deals with the likes of Sony TV, Warner Bros, StudioCanal and Disney. tflix, which is planning to launch in the UK and Ireland in early 2012 has entered arrangements with such players as MGM, Lionsgate and BBC Worldwide. However, Netflix is reportedly facing an uphill battle in securing rights from important local players who already have their own streaming services. in any content deal the two entities may strike especially given that the episodes are already readily available via several services that don’t require extra subscription fees. in the ratings. a homegrown pic that took more than $70 million. Still, the box office will be tested this year as the London Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the European Football Championships are all expected to be a drag on movie ticket sales in 2012.
8216;s Reliance, which rode into Hollywood a few years ago to back DreamWorks as well as a host of star shingles, confirmed in May that it would fund David Linde’s production and finance company Lava Bear. ck at home, mogul Anil Ambani’s Reliance MediaWorks, which includes movie theaters and TV production among its businesses, announced plans to raise $111 million in a rights equity issue. e group also launched phase 1 of its RMW studios, a Hollywood-compliant facility in Mumbai that became partly operational in January. Ambani’s brother Mukesh is also reportedly looking to get into the entertainment biz. t’s understood the Reliance Industries chairman, who is India’s wealthiest man, is in talks to acquire a minority stake in TV and Internet group Network18. ther news, Tata Elxsi, the technology arm of Indian conglomerate Tata, recently formed a joint-venture with LA-based A Squared Entertainment to create, develop and distribute original animated entertainment and digital gaming. have been shaking up the box office. The prolific industry is expected to continue to grow with smaller films having a shot at finding audiences, although export remains a challenge for the future.
suffered a catastrophic earthquake in March that set off a horrific tsunami leaving more than 15,000 dead in its wake.
which depicted similar events - were pulled from cinemas amid concerns of their inappropriateness. The events also triggered a fear of tape and digital memory shortages in Hollywood especially as Sony was led to stop production at several of its factories. As a result of the devastation and a hacking scandal that saw over 100 million PlayStation accounts compromised, Sony said it expected to post a $1. billion net loss for the fiscal year ending March 2012. Around the same time as the disaster, Kazuo Hirai saw his duties expanded to oversee all of Sony’s consumer electronics businesses along with other functions in what is believed to be an important step on his way to succeeding CEO Howard Stringer. an’s box office suffered heavily, although a well-attended Tokyo International Film Festival this fall provided some solace as the industry continues to recover.
has been a hot bed of activity with A-list stars and U. S. production companies getting in on the action. with coin from Village Roadshow Asia and China Film Group. Also in 2011, Thomas Tull formed Legendary East in Hong Kong to produce one to two event-style films for worldwide audiences per year and in August it was announced that Paul Y Engineering Group would invest in the venture taking a $220. million 50% stake. On December 30th, however, it emerged that PYE was unable to raise the necessary funds in a share sale and put its investment on hold. PYE said options to modify the deal structure could be discussed in 2012 while Legendary East said a placing exercise was being targeted for a relaunch next year....