Distrib goes Dutch

Executive shuffle, competish leave RCV vulnerable

AMSTERDAM — Dutch film company Two Independent’s deal with Warner Bros. Benelux to dis-tribute its English-language film “The Delivery” marks the first concrete fallout from a shakeup at Dutch film distribber RCV Entertainment six weeks ago.

Segments of the film are being screened in Cannes, where the deal was inked for an early September release in Belgium and Holland.

The shakeup at RCV in early April resulted in the departure of top Dutch film vet San Fu Maltha and several key RCV execs Maltha had brought over to the company from his days at Polygram Filmed Entertainment.

Doubts after shuffle

“The Delivery” was set for release in May, but following Maltha’s departure, Two Independent canceled its contract with RCV, saying it had “serious concerns about distribution of the film” as a result of the exec shuffle, the film’s director Roel Reine told Daily Variety.

Maltha reportedly left RCV after Dutch publisher VNU, which owns 50% of RCV, insisted that the distribber invest solely in mainstream titles. Maltha’s management strategy has always involved picking up rights to both commercial and arthouse pics.

Upstarts challenge

In 1998, RCV was Holland’s fifth largest distributor, but will likely be given a run for its money this year by up-and-comers Paradise Entertainment and Indies Entertainment, the latter a company which arose out of the reorganization of the bankrupt Concorde Enterprises.

Paradise this year released “Rush Hour,” which has brought in some $1.5 million in receipts since it debuted at the end of March.

Indies has so far released arthouse pic “Another Day in Paradise,” but the release of “Sliding Doors,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow, among other pics in its lineup, is expected to pull in additional market share for the new theatrical distrib.