You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

StudioCanal buys Kinowelt

Canal Plus subsidiary takes 100%

Gallic major StudioCanal has bought German producer-distrib Kinowelt for an estimated E90 million ($132 million), giving the Canal Plus subsidiary an important foothold in Germany and beefing up Kinowelt’s film muscle.

The companies announced Thursday that the long-mooted takeover had been inked Wednesday. StudioCanal, which was expected to take a majority share in the Leipzig-based firm, has bought 100%.

Kinowelt founders, brothers Michael and Rainer Koelmel, will remain at the company, which is one of Germany’s biggest DVD distributors and also produces and distributes TV and cinema films.

Michael Koelmel will continue to oversee strategy; Rainer Koelmel will head acquisitions.

Deal is subject to antitrust approval. No terms were released, but the reported price includes a bonus linked to Kinowelt’s future profitability, said StudioCanal chairman Olivier Courson.

StudioCanal now owns distribution companies in the U.K., France and Germany — Europe’s three biggest film markets. The French production, sales and distribution company also owns distribs in Benelux, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland.

With Kinowelt, StudioCanal aims to replicate the success at its British distribution company, run Optimum Releasing, which it bought in 2006, Courson said.

StudioCanal’s vast library has enhanced Optimum’s DVD distribution, while its backing has allowed Optimum, once a niche distrib, to raise the ante on acquisitions, purchasing “In the Valley of Elah” last year.

“We’ve increased Optimum’s results fourfold in two years,” Courson said.

A further aim in StudioCanal’s pan-Euro distrib network is to co-produce bigger international movies, Courson added, citing StudioCanal’s involvement in Johnny To’s “The Red Circle” and in the prequel remake of John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York,” which Neal Moritz is producing for New Line and StudioCanal.

Kinowelt will also continue local production under StudioCanal.

StudioCanal, which has a co-production deal with the U.K.’s Working Title, will commit $293.6 million a year to international and local productions, made out of its distribution ops, Courson said.

Another potential growth area is the German home entertainment market, which grew 3% in 2007, in contrast with an 11% plunge in France’s DVD market.

Kinowelt has handled Canal Plus homevideo titles in German-speaking territories since 2000.

Michael Koelmel re-established Kinowelt in Leipzig after it ran into liquidity problems in 2001, having expanded rapidly during the heyday of the Neuer Markt in Germany.

Two years later, it’s once again a big player in Germany, with revenue rising in 2006 by more than 30% to $150 million and profits edging up to $7.2 million from $5 million a year earlier.

Courson ruled out further expansion in Spain and Italy, where the markets are hit by piracy.

“At the moment, I prefer to focus on the integration of Optimum and Kinowelt and the development of international production,” Courson added.

More Film

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organization behind the Oscars. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. The Academy’s statement [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content