Hellenes Have High Hopes For Hot Buys

Cannes has always been a priority market for Greek film distribs who generally have high hopes for this year’s edition.

George Spentzos of Spentzos Film says he is looking for product that will yield “exploitation in depth, in other words less films for more weeks.”

Spentzos, who will attend the market with his brothers Alekos and Spiros, says, “We aren’t interested in cultural or arty product.”

Spentzos says “Home Alone,” “Sleeping With The Enemy” and “Die Hard 2” were his company’s big hits last season.

Pantelis Mitropoulos of Prooptiki has high hopes for Cannes. “I’ll pick up some good theatrical films there such as the new David Lynch or Pedro Almodovar or another ‘Dances With Wolves,’ one of my company’s big draws this past season,” he says.

Zinos Panayiotides of Nea Kinesi says his quest and that of partners, Peggy Davalis-Micropoulos and Antonis Katzopoulos, in Cannes will be guided by changes in audience tastes.

“We used to rely strongly on selecting movies with big name stars, but this is no longer enough to guarantee success.” He reports. “Look at ‘Stanley And Iris’ with Jane Fonda and Robert DeNiro, both big draws here. This wasn’t enough and the film fizzled.”

Panayiotides and partners will be looking for A titles for theatrical release and other films for video and tv release. “We’ll put more emphasis on selective entertainment by well-known directors such as Bertolucci’s ‘The Sheltering Sky,’ our biggest success last season,” Panayiotides says.

Terror is dead

George Michaelides of Home Video Hellas will once again appear at Cannes, although he says, “Business is so bad that we’re almost thinking of Cannes more in terms of socializing than deal making.”

Per Michaelides, “We’ll concentrate on comedies and upmarket movies; action, thriller and terror films are dead.”

His partner, Costis Vranas, added, “Our main goal, simply put, is to find films that will get people out of their homes and into the cinema.” He added, “Although our overall figures have diminished, we have still done well at select cinemas. This helped us keep our drop to about 20% from last season, compared to most companies’ 30% drop.”

Among ELKE’s moneymakers this past season have been “Pretty Woman,” “Presumed Innocent” and “Green Card.”

“About the only cause for excitement is our snack bar business,” says Michaelides. “Fresh popcorn has caught on among the Greeks at our own houses, and we also lease snack bars at other cinemas.”

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