Biz worries that move strengthens quasi-monopoly
MONTREALMel’s Cite du Cinema, the only studio in Montreal equipped to host big Hollywood pics, has been bought by post-production facility Vision Globale for an undisclosed sum. Montreal-based Vision Globale also acquired Mel’s equipment rental subsidiary, Locations Michel Trudel. Mel’s was majority owned by founder Mel Hoppenheim and his partner Michel Trudel, who will remain with the company. Daniel Byette, head of operations at Vision, said they plan to expand the facility from its current 18 studios spread over 225,000 square feet to 22 studios covering 306,000 square feet. “The acquisition of Cite du Cinema by Vision Globale allows the ownership of the studio to remain Quebecois, and it will give producers a completely vertically integrated set of services,” Hoppenheim said. Vision made the deal with the help of Montreal-based venture capital fund Capital Regional et Cooperatif Desjardins and $4 million from the Quebec government’s financing arm, Investissement Quebec, already a minority shareholder of Vision Globale. The majority shareholder is founding prexy Mathieu Lefebvre. Mel’s has hosted many Hollywood pics, including “Source Code,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Aviator” and, just this year, “White House Down.” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is set to shoot at Mel’s in spring. There have been worries in the past about lack of choice for foreign producers seeking studio space in Montreal; adding a major post facility clearly strengthens Mel’s position. Provincial film-funding agency Sodec released a report this year noting that this “quasi-monopoly sometimes has negative effects on the industry.”
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