LONDON — Moscow-based distrib CP Digital has announced a diverse slate of acquisitions at Cannes for Russia and the CIS region, including “Chinese Zodiac” from Jackie Chan Intl. Cinema, “Scary Movie 5” and “August: Osage County” from the Weinstein Co., “Haunter” and “Populaire” from Wild Bunch, “Monsters 2” from Protagonist, “Starving Games” from K5 Intl. and “Ribbit 3D” from United Studios.
CP Digital’s head of acquisitions Nadezda Motina noted that the CIS was ferociously competitive at Cannes, which is driving up prices and making it hard to secure the most attractive titles.
“In total I counted 18 companies seriously buying for Russia,” she said. “For the big titles, a seller may have nine strong offers. I made approximately 40 offers before the market, but was able to secure fewer than 10 projects.”
She said that prices have leapt significantly even since Berlin’s European Film Market in February and the American Film Market last November.
“I had a chance to buy a movie in Berlin for $300,000, and here (in Cannes) with first footage presented, it was sold for $450,000.”
“I try to be careful and not to be carried away during bidding wars,” she added. “There is a certain number that makes sense for me, and I do not want to go higher.”
Although the Russian theatrical business is growing fast, driven by an expansion in multiplex screens, Motina described the market conditions as “challenging.”
“Even if we have 2,500 screens, the majors try to book more than 1,500 with the biggest titles. To compete against them, you need to have titles with potential box office of more than $10 million. And there are just a few projects on this scale around.”
The market remains driven by theatrical results, she said, with TV “very picky,” home video “dying” and VOD “very small.”
As a result, CP Digital, which started out as an arthouse distrib, is trying to diversify its slate with a mixed offering of specialized and more mainstream titles with a high theatrical profile. For example, the company is planning to give the $50 million Jackie Chan vehicle “Chinese Zodiac” the widest ever release in the CIS for a Chinese movie.
CP Digital releases theatrically under the Premium Film brand. Upcoming titles include “The Bait 3D,” “Now Is Good,” “Seven Days in Havana,” “Vehicle 19,” “The Last Stand,” “Mood Indigo,” “Caught in Flight” and “Postman Pat 3D.”