The globalization of the entertainment industry is bringing overseas film, TV and video distributors together with some of Hollywood’s more prolific producers, including Richard Donner.
The reason: The market is demanding higher quality films with studio-level production values as well as A-level stars. The days of tossing non-theatrical fare onto the market and hoping for the best are long gone.
Producers, in turn, are seeking a greater amount of creative control over their projects. The best way to do that is to come to the table with money in hand.
So the foreign distribs as co-finance partners and producers as sources of product increasingly are finding common cause.
That linkup was evident at the most recent Cannes film market where Decade Pictures, the low-budget film company owned by Donner and Joel Silver, announced a multipic deal with Helkon Media for German distrib rights.
Munich-based Helkon is a new player in the German market, with multipic deals on a number of indie fronts. Of Decade’s first two-year slate of five pics budgeted at about $10 million, Helkon will be handling a minimum of two.
Decade also has inked with Kushner Locke Intl. to handle the first two pics on the roster, Greg Yaitanes’ “Double Tap,” headlining Heather Locklear and Stephen Rea, and “Running Lucky.”
“They’ve been very well received by overseas buyers, ” says KLI president Pascal Borno.
“Our partnership with Decade gives foreign distributors access to two high-profile mainstream Hollywood producers.”
Decade is not where buyers will find the $80 million to $90 million “Lethal Weapon”-type blockbusters that the studios handle. But then again, not many overseas buyers can afford to take a risk on megabudget pictures, especially in the wake of colossal failures like “Cutthroat Island.”
But the product is expected to be “quality films from studio filmmakers,” Borno says. “Decade, in its alliance with KLI, is giving them that opportunity.”