WIESBADEN, Germany — The showdown between financially beleaguered German indie distribs and American majors ended with a whimper and without resolution yesterday at the European Cinema Congress.
The indies proposed a system of copy restrictions, but neither the majors nor attending exhibitors seemed to take the threat seriously.
The debate has its origins in the Berlin Film Festival. Because the major houses were filled with festival films, Columbia TriStar, under the management of Jurgen Schau, upped the number of copies of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” in the smaller theaters.
Because of this, Senator Film could not launch its own production, “Ein Mann For Jede Tonart,” in Berlin. Senator head Hanno Huth expressed his anger in the press and tried to mobilize the indies. Since then, a public debate on copy limitations in major cities has been raging.
The German indies were represented at the meeting by the head of Jugendfilm, Jurgen Wohlrabe.
Facing off at an open discussion with Warner Bros. Euro distrib head Frank Pierce and Columbia’s Lester McKellen, Wohlrabe presented a list of major cities with proposed launch-copy restrictions. The proposal was badly received by exhibitors in the audience, who were not officially represented in the discussion.