RCS says ciao to Showbiz

Will shutter Italo distrib arm

Italian media group RCS Editori is severing its final ties with the film business with the decision to shutter its theatrical and video distribution company in Italy.

RCS flirted with Hollywood production in the early ’90s via Carolco and London-based Majestic Films, but sold Majestic in 1996 after heavy losses. The company retained its Italo distribution arm, but has barely acquired any movies in the past year and will now close RCS Films and TV by July.

Giovanni Toso, the head of RCS Films and TV, confirmed that the TV library has been sold to pubcaster RAI for $16 million, with satellite and pay-TV rights parceled out between Creative Network Intl. and Telepiu. Video kiosk rights have been sold to a consortium of Italian distribs, along with the underlying video rights to most of the RCS library, excluding the company’s films from Polygram and Majestic, which are still under negotiation.

The 14 staffers of RCS Films and TV are being moved elsewhere in the RCS Editori group.

Toso said the decision to withdraw from the business was driven by a combination of the increasing difficulties securing theatrical product at realistic prices, and the decline in value of the Italian video and theatrical market for all but the highest-profile releases.

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