Barr B. Potter, adding to his duties as prexy and chief operating officer of JVC Entertainment Inc., will assume the role of chairman/CEO of Largo Entertainment as the company undergoes a philosophical restructuring.
Potter, who joined JVC as exec veepee in 1991, replaces company founder Lawrence Gordon, who left Largo last month to take an independent production deal at MCA/Universal (Daily Variety, Jan. 13). At that time, speculation was that Japanese conglomerate JVC would not replace Gordon with another high-profile creative exec but would instead opt for a businessman like Potter.
As he takes the reins at Largo, Potter will focus the company in a new direction, concentrating the organization’s efforts on both acquiring international rights for sales and distribution of at least six films a year and acquiring film rights strictly for Japan.
Previously, Largo had concentrated its efforts on production, with domestic distribution deals through Universal and Fox.
“We had to do some reassessment following Larry’s departure,” Potter told Daily Variety. “We had to take a hard look at where we thought we could go and it made more sense to focus on the international marketplace.”
The films that Largo will be looking to pick up for international distribution would be in the $ 10 million-$ 30 million budget range, although Potter said that price could go higher depending on the project and/or package.
Potter also intends to sell Largo to indie filmmakers as the “one-stop shop” for projects in search of co-financing. “We really will be looking at anything right now,” he said. “We’re wide open.”
He also will be looking hard at the more than a half-dozen projects Largo has in development to see if anything is ready to go.
If there are projects to be found in-house, Largo would hold onto the foreign rights and then seek financing and domestic distribu-tion to get them off the ground. Potter currently is in talks with a number of banks to put together more financing, in addition to the financing already provided by JVC.
With this restructuring, Largo will take over all acquisition activities conducted by the Victor Co. of Japan, outside of Japan. JVC is a subsidiary of the Victor Co.
Largo will also handle all future development, financing and acquisition deals that various divisions of the Victor Co. had previously conducted. Among the deals engineered through Victor Co. were pacts with Ridley Scott, Luc Besson and Tribeca.
During Largo’s nearly five years of existence, the company has had a spotty record as an indie company, with only two modest hits (to date) under its belt –“Unlawful Entry” and “Point Break.”
Currently Largo has two films on the docket, the recently released “The Getaway” and upcoming “Time Cop,” both distributed domestically by Universal. (U also has the international distribution rights to “Cop,” except in Italy and Japan.) Largo has the international rights to “The Getaway.”
Potter was formerly exec veepee of Time-Life Home Video. Prior to that, he was prexy and chief operating officer of Thorn-EMI Screen Entertainment, where he handled film financing and acquisitions. He became president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors of JEI (JVC Entertainment Inc.) in July, 1992.