When the Lionsgate-distribbed “The Last Exorcism” nabbed $20.4 million Stateside over the Aug. 27-29 weekend, some of the biggest cheers came from the other side of the Atlantic.
“Exorcism” was produced by Eli Roth, Marc Abraham and Eric Neuman’s Strike Entertainment and France’s StudioCanal. But StudioCanal, one of Europe’s biggest film companies, fully financed the pic.
More cause for cheers: “Exorcism” made over 10 times its budget in its first U.S. weekend.
Also, via international pre-sales and distribution in France, Germany and U.K., the three European territories where it runs direct distrib ops, StudioCanal had covered its budget before it even came to negotiate a U.S. deal.
Creating even more cause for celebration, at least for StudioCanal: the U.S. distrib deal with Lionsgate. StudioCanal negotiated a considerable P&A commitment — reportedly $16 million — but a small, reportedly high-six-figure, minimum guarantee.
That deal structure looks set to become more common with deeper-pocketed international producers and sales companies who are not desperate for minimum guarantees in order to finance their pics.
Crucially, it allows StudioCanal a bigger upside in the U.S. gross if the film clicks.
“We have a very good production relationship with Strike. When they shared the script with us, we immediately decided to come onboard and fully finance the film,” says StudioCanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson.