×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MK2 on the road to crossover pics

Company broadens repertoire and looks to future

Making films by Claude Chabrol, Alain Tanner and Krzysztof Kieslowski, Gallic producer-distrib MK2 has been a mainstay of arthouse cinema for many years.

Now, under prexy Nathanael Karmitz, who took over from his dad, founder Marin Karmitz several years ago, MK2 is radically broadening its repertoire, and setting out a gameplan for energetic growth in both production and exhibition.

“Our directors want to reach audiences, not just be at festivals,” says Nathanael Karmitz.

Its latest production move is a far cry from auteur fare: “Cameron” is a 3D action fantasy pic written and to be directed by Julien Lacombe and Pascal Sid (“Behind the Walls”). It begins with French Legion troops in a training maneuver emerging from a tunnel in 1943 to be confronted by German troops.

“We don’t have good war movies in France,” Karmitz says.

Budgeted at E10 million ($13 million) and now casting, “Cameron” will shoot next summer.

Popular on Variety

It adds dimension to an already increasingly eclectic production slate.

At Cannes, MK2 bowed “Certified Copy,” by Iranian helmer, Abbas Kiarostami.

Plenty of attention was generated from the Venice world preem of “Black Venus,” the first in a three-pic production pic with Abdellatif Kechiche.

Both “Copy” and “Venus” can be seen as steps toward the mainstream for their directors: “Copy” is Kiarostami’s first film shot outside Iran and stars Juliette Binoche; after Cesar-winning “The Secret of the Grain,” about a Maghrebi family in Marseilles, “Venus” plays out on a broader canvas of early 19th century London and Paris.

But where MK2 has really made waves has been in teaming with Francis Ford Coppola to produce Walter Salles’ $25 million “On the Road.”

Salles’ Jack Kerouac adaptation has been set up before — at Pathe and Wild Bunch among others — but never completed financing.

In Cannes, the “On the Road” cast was unveiled, including Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart and Britain’s Sam Riley, and MK2 struck deals with more than 15 territories including Medusa for Italy, Concorde for Germany, Icon (U.K./Australia) and Cineart (Benelux).

Many territories — led by U.S., Canada, Latin America and Scandinavia — are now under negotiations, Karmitz says.

The Kerouac pic went into production Aug. 2, adding Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams and Alicia Braga to the ensemble.

“‘On the Road’ showed the industry and our directors we are capable of making projects in the U.S. at $25 million or above,” Karmitz says.

Producing four to six films a year, MK2 aims to announce more projects in the range next year, he adds.

“Pure arthouse as we knew it 10 years ago is impossible,” Karmitz concedes.

“I’m a real film buff, but what I like is ranging from mainstream to arthouse,” he adds.

While production and distribution steam ahead, MK2 is also an significant player in arthouse exhibition and even retail.

Karmitz estimates 50% of MK2’s revenue growth will come from production and MK2’s catalog, another 50% from exhibition.

MK2 already owns France’s top Paris-based arthouse/upscale multiplex circuit, with 58 screens.

On Sept. 14, MK2 opens Germain Paradisio, a luxurious 3D 24-seat theater-screening room open to rent by the general public. Half its screenings are booked through to year-end, Karmitz says.

Most of the exhib’s theaters will be digitized by Oct. 15, 100% by year-end.

Even books are on the agenda: MK2 has revamped the main DVD-bookstore at its 14-screen flagship theater, the MK2 Bibliotheque, to create a large cultural boutique opening at the end of September.

More Scene

  • Oscar Menu to Be Almost All

    Oscar Menu to Be Almost All Plant-Based

    The Oscars are getting greener. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday that it will be offering entirely plant-based menus at today’s Oscar Nominees Luncheon and then in the Dolby Theatre lobbies prior to the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9. The post-ceremony Governors Ball will be 70% plant-based, and 30% [...]

  • 'Little America' Team on Creating Immigration

    'Little America' Team on Creating the Immigration Anthology Series for Apple TV Plus

    Respect and authenticity were the key words at the screening of the new Apple TV Plus series “Little America” on Thursday in Los Angeles. Produced by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon and inspired by true stories featured in Epic Magazine, “Little America” is an anthology series focused on immigration. For executive producer Sian Heder, [...]

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival - Egyptian

    Sundance 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Heading to Park City? From intimate dinners and cocktail parties to late night bashes (that end just in time to head to brunch), there’s plenty to keep this year’s film festival attendees out of the cold between screenings. Here is Variety’s ultimate party guide for Sundance 2020:  Thursday, Jan. 23 “Summertime” Premiere Party Lyft Lounge, 8-11 [...]

  • BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21:

    Jenna Andrews Hosts Zhavia Ward, Lennon Stella at Jed Foundation Fundraiser

    Jenna Andrews, the Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and executive, hosted a pre-Grammy event in partnership with The Jed Foundation at Alice and Olivia in West Hollywood on Tuesday.  The non-profit Jed is dedicated to protecting emotional health and preventing suicide. The foundation has partnered with high schools and colleges in order to “strengthen mental health, [...]

  • Coldplay - Chris Martin

    Grammys 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Let the music play, indeed. The Grammys are just days away and dozens of parties are happening every night this week leading up to the big day, Sunday, Jan. 26. And the partying continues with several bashes following the ceremony. (All events listed are by invitation only unless marked otherwise; this list is being updated [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content