Most studios and indies are downsizing with the downturn; Gallic mini-major StudioCanal is gearing up and still growing.
Owned by Vivendi paybox Canal Plus, StudioCanal in 2008 grew total revenues by 7.5% to f400 million ($532.8 million) and operating profits by 22% to $74.6 million. Profit margins were 14% — healthy even by Hollywood studio standards. Margins will grow to 15% in 2009, predicted chairman Olivier Courson.
“We’ve become far more selective,” Courson said. “Five years ago, StudioCanal co-produced 50 French films a year, now it co-produces 12.”
Other factors help explain StudioCanal’s against-the-grain growth. It has strong talent relationships and direct distribution in Europe’s three strongest film territories — France, the U.K. (via Optimum Releasing) and Germany (via Kinowelt).
Leading distributors handle its library abroad: Lionsgate for the U.S. and Universal in many other territories. And it owns the biggest film library in Europe.