×

French post and vfx unit Quinta shut down

Ben Ammar's Quinta Industries in bankruptcy

PARIS — The bulk of Tarak Ben Ammar’s French post-production and visual effects business, Quinta Industries, has been shut down.

A part of Quinta Communications, Ben Ammar’s production and distribution powerhouse, the group’s film laboratories LTC, Scanlab and SIS, which were placed under the French equivalent to Chapter 11 in November for six months, have gone bankrupt.

French fx and animation house Duran Duboi, which has been under protection from creditors since 2004 when Ben Ammar bought it, has also been placed in bankruptcy but will remain operational until Jan. 4.

LTC, a leading post-production studio that specialized in 35mm prints production, employs 115 staffers.

Ben Ammar owns 83% of Quinta Industries, which he says represents 5% of his business in Europe. Technicolor owns Quinta Industries’ remaining stake.

By late 2010, Quinta Industries’ losses had hit some €10 million ($12.9 million), about one-fourth of its annual revenues, per French financial trade Les Echos.

Popular on Variety

Duran’s downfall was accelerated by its legal dispute with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp over the production of “The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart.”

Duran was a co-producer on “Heart” and had been hired to create the 3D animation. But when Duran hit a financial low point in May, it stopped work on the toon and dismissed the employees allocated to the project.

EuropaCorp sued Duran and won. A Paris judge ordered Duran to give the software and tools used on “Heart” to EuropaCorp to allow it to finish the film, either with another shingle or inhouse.

EuropaCorp’s attorney, Arnaud de Senilhes from Nixon Pibody, said the company is examining how much it would cost to jump-start the toon’s production. Since many animators who had been working on the feature and had been trained to work on Duran’s software have now found work elsewhere, EuropaCorp would have to train staffers to pursue the feature, which would be a lengthy and costly process, per De Senilhes.

Ben Ammar issued a statement explaining Quinta Industries had been hurt by multiple factors, notably France’s anti-trust board’s decision to ban its merger with Eclair Group (in which Ben Ammar owns a 43% share) in 2008. He said this merger would have allowed a consolidation of the sector that’s now weakened and fragmented.

Eclair finalized its debt recovery plan earlier this year but its post-production lab GTC has closed shop.

In his statement, French-Tunisian Ben Ammar also pointed out the structural difficulties faced by the technical field and the competitiveness between the different studios. And the frosting on the cake, said Ben Ammar, has been the frantic pace of French theaters’ digital conversion.

As Thierry de Segonzac, prexy of Ficam, told Daily Variety in November, “the demand for film prints has dropped 30% every year since 2008, leading to the decline of a number of companies.”

France’s national film board, CNC, has scheduled a meeting with industryites and rights-holders on Wednesday to come up with a plan to guarantee the release of films that LTC was working on, as well as support former employees.

The CNC also wants to ensure that the thousands of film prints that have been stored at LTC will be preserved.

More Digital

  • Gary Levine and Jana Winograde Showtime

    Showtime, HBO Broaden Scope as Parent Companies Aim to Grow Their Audiences

    For years, the halo around premium cablers such as HBO and Showtime has been integral to their branding. Their parent companies in a past life — Time Warner and CBS, respectively — seemed to be content with the tens of millions of subscribers each had accumulated. But now, shepherded by new corporate owners — AT&T’s [...]

  • Josh Simon - Netflix

    Netflix Hires Nike Exec Josh Simon as VP of Consumer Products

    Netflix’s burgeoning consumer products group has a new boss: Josh Simon, who is leaving Nike to join the streaming giant. Simon, who’s also a Disney and Color Force alum, has been named VP of consumer products for Netflix. Based in L.A., he will start at the company the week of March 2 to oversee the [...]

  • Bob Chapek Disney CEO

    Why Wall Street Is Unhappy (for Now) With Disney's CEO Change

    We all knew the end was coming. Bob Iger had promised, time and again, that the end was coming. But the rather abrupt announcement Tuesday afternoon that he would relinquish his longtime role as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. — and that theme parks head Bob Chapek would succeed him at the top of [...]

  • FandangoNow - Amazon Fire TV

    Fandango's Video Streaming Service Lands on Amazon Fire TV

    FandangoNow, the on-demand transactional movie and TV service from NBCUniversal-owned Fandango, is now available on Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire TV Edition Smart TVs. The expansion to Amazon’s TV hardware platform comes as Fandango vies to get a bigger slice of the digital-entertainment pie — competing with Amazon Video, as well as Apple, Google [...]

  • The Spanish Princess Starz

    Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch Lifts Lid on Local Originals Drive for SVOD Starzplay

    Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch has outlined the local originals strategy for Starzplay, revealing that a slate of shows are being planned out of the Middle East and India as the business looks to complement its U.S. and English-language pipeline of content. Speaking at the Berlinale Series Market and Conference on Wednesday, the executive told Variety that the [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Adds Deals With Six Anime Creators in Japan

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is partnering with six different Japanese creators in order to expand its slate of originals anime content. Among the deals are ones with Clamp, the female manga collective that was responsible for the “Cardcaptor Sakura” franchise. Another is with Mari Yamazaki, whose “Thermae Romae” manga was turned into two hit live-action [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content