International Newswire: So Where Does Disney-Fox Pact Leave International?

In today’s International Newswire, international players consider the effects of the Disney-Fox marriage; Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz among the nominees in an eclectic Goya contenders list; and International Emmy Award-winning Turkish telenovela “Endless Love” sells to more than 70 territories.

One subject, and one subject alone, dominated industry conversation Friday: Disney’s stunning announcement Thursday of its stock-based purchase of 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion. Variety covered initial international reactions at some length yesterday (see link). More have now come in, forming at least a partial consensus on how to react to the deal and its rationale.

The most recommended reaction is to wait-and-see: “We’ll be waiting for further news to see what could be the opportunities for Latin American content production,” said Manuel Marti, at Argentine production company Pol-ka.

“For a producer on the ground looking up at it, the first and last question can only be ‘what does a merger mean for the creative signature of the new company?’ Both have strong, unique identities, how do they now find a new and harmonious signature that takes the best from both companies?” asked Julie Gardner, co-chief of U.K. production company Bad Wolf.

As for the deal’s sense, “The speed with which this deal — effectively merging two of the Hollywood major studios — has been agreed is as breath-taking as its sheer size,” ran a Thursday IHS Markit report. It went on: “At its heart, the merger is based on the rationale that large scale is vital for media companies to thrive in the fast-developing global media market.”

In theatrical filmed entertainment, at least in some territories, the deal takes one buyer off the market. But some of Europe’s most senior independent players countered the notion that the deal’s endgame is a foreclosure of distribution outlets. “I see this as the start of an ongoing consolidation process in the entertainment world. Others will follow. The overall number of buyers is not declining though. Producers today have more possibilities than ever,” said Martin Moszkowicz, at German production-distribution company Constantin. Pascal Breton, at Paris-based production outfit Federation Ent., agreed. In TV terms, “with this merger there are now about 10 global players who will be competing to get the best shows — that gives us independent European producers so many opportunities to sell our shows.”

Dan Cheesbrough, managing director of U.K. production company Eleven, saw an upside in the deal if it allows Fox’s purchase of 100% of pay-TV outfit Sky to proceed. “What it means for us locally is obviously hard to say, but in the short term I’d be very surprised if British regulators now blocked the full acquisition of Sky, who I think are well aligned with Disney and very well positioned to grow with them. From a U.K. production perspective, that can only be positive, with the hope that it strengthens Sky, removes any ambiguity over ownership and enables them to continue spending confidently on U.K. companies.”

GOYA NOMINATIONS: BARDEM, CRUZ, BASQUE COUNTRY, CATALONIA
Often an industry bellwether, the Spanish Academy Goya Award nominations were announced Dec. 14. The biggest headline: Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz both win recognition for their star-turns in Fernando Leon’s “Loving Pablo,” a private take on the very public Pablo Escobar. Period drama “Handía” snagged 13 nods, its craft nomination recognition for not only the film but the escalating production standards of the Basque industry. Otherwise, best picture contenders underscore the relative creative vitality of Barcelona, home to three of their directors: Isabel Coixet (“The Bookshop”), Paco Plaza (“Veronica”) and Carla Simon (“Summer 1993”). Manuel Martin Cuenca’s “The Author” rounds up best picture nominees, whose languages — English (“Bookshop”), Catalan (“Summer 1993”), Basque (“Handia”) and Spanish — reflect a huge eclecticism in inspiration and contexts in a Spanish cinema.

INT’L EMMY WINNING TURKISH TELENOVELA SURPASSES 70 TERRITORIES
Turkish distributor Inter Medya announced new international agreements for its International Emmy Award winning telenovela “Endless Love,” which now totals more than 70 territories. The series, produced by Ay Yapım, was the first from Turkey to win an International Emmy. Already a major hit across Latin America and parts of Europe and Asia, new deals include Mozambique, Angola, Slovenia, Morocco and Cambodia, where it will be the first Turkish series to broadcast on TV. The series is a class-crossing love story with truly international themes explore over its thus-far 74 episodes.

Inter Medya founder and CEO, said in a statement: “Of course, after winning an [International] Emmy, the demand increased tremendously, we are proud to distribute such a large project and we are confident that we will see ‘Endless Love’ in many more countries in the near future.”

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