JVC to forgo Largo

Top execs axed as producer winds down

NEW YORK — Japanese-owned JVC Entertainment has pulled the plug on Largo Entertainment’s foreign sales, acquisitions and co-financing businesses and given pink slips to chairman and CEO Barr Potter and president Peter Elson.

JVC Entertainment’s involvement with Largo dates back to 1989, when it formed a joint venture with producer Larry Gordon to create the independent sales and production company.

“The rising cost of acquiring foreign rights and the reduced margins on the sales of those rights have resulted in a situation for the parent company where the risks are too high and the rewards are too low,” Potter said.

Focus on Japanese market

JVC Entertainment will continue to deal with the development and production of, as well as the acquisition of rights to, films for the Japanese market, Potter said.

Largo also announced it has signed a deal with Summit Entertainment to handle foreign sales on about 20 pictures that Largo has produced or acquired since April 1994.

Artisan Entertainment recently acquired a minority interest in Summit and plans to exercise its option to buy the rest of the foreign sales company by the end of the year, Artisan president Amir Malin told Daily Variety.

Among the Largo titles that Summit will be repping at the upcoming American Film Market are the Pierce Brosnan starrer “Grey Owl,” which does not yet have a U.S. distributor, Paul Schrader’s critically acclaimed “Affliction,” which Lions Gate released in the U.S., and the genre pic “John Carpenter’s Vampires,” which Sony distributed in the U.S., U.K., Scandinavia and Benelux.

Demise expected

Largo’s winding down was expected, and follows industrywide speculation that the company was abandoning production and co-financing to focus on foreign sales (Daily Variety, April 14, 1998).

Instead, it will do none of these. Largo will merely administer the rights to about 30 pictures in its library that are subject to worldwide distribution agreements with 20th Century Fox or Universal Pictures. These include such titles as “Point Break,” “Unlawful Entry” and “Timecop.”

Potter and Elson will exit after the company’s staff has been downsized over the next several months, Largo said in a statement.

Potter joined JVC Entertainment in 1991 and was appointed president and chief operating officer of the unit. In 1994, when Largo became a wholly owned unit of JVC, Potter was named chairman and CEO of the Los Angeles-based company.

Elson came on board at Largo in April 1994 as exec veepee and was upped to prexy last year.