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Working Title Co-Chief Eric Fellner Looks to Harness Oscar Buzz in International Markets

Eric Fellner, one of the producers of 'The Theory of Everything,' has been Oscar nominated four times previously

Eric Fellner
David M. Benett/Getty Images

LONDON — Working Title Films co-chair Eric Fellner, one of the producers of “The Theory of Everything,” is looking to capitalize on the buzz generated by the movie’s five Oscar nominations, including best picture, as it embarks on the next stage of its theatrical rollout in international markets.

Fellner told Variety on Thursday: “We planned our international rollout in the hope that we would get some kind of recognition somewhere along the line, but this is way better than we had hoped for, so now we will focus on all of the European, Latin American and Asian markets, and try and use the recognition that the film has been given to enhance the box office in all those territories.”

The Oscar nomination is Fellner’s fifth, following “Elizabeth,” “Atonement,” “Frost/Nixon” and “Les Miserables,” but he was taking nothing for granted today. “I have been around a while, so one never expects anything. I’ve actually been on a plane — I just landed a few minutes ago. So I was very happy when my Blackberry started buzzing mercilessly. It gave me an indication of the fact that we’d probably had some good news. It is always a joy, and it’s always slightly unexpected, because you can never really believe that you are going to get what you want.”

Asked what he thought the Academy voters had responded to in the film, Fellner said: “It is a beautifully crafted, beautifully directed, really well-acted movie that has very powerful emotions, and ultimately it has an uplifting ending.”

He added: “It is also a fascinating insight into a world that a lot of people thought they already knew, but realized when they saw the movie that they didn’t. We make films to entertain, to engage and to emote, and I think on those three levels this film scores.”

Fellner added that the Oscar nominations underscored the beneficial effect that government support had had on the U.K. industry, support that’s aided not only specialty pics like “The Theory of Everything,” “The Imitation Game” and “Mr. Turner,” but also studio films that shoot in the U.K. like “Into the Woods,” “Malificent” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” all of which picked up nominations.

Fellner said: “The 10 years of financial incentives for the creative industries that consecutive governments have supported is starting to really demonstrate itself, especially in the growth of young talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and in all the craft areas. I think we now have a British film industry on two levels — both able to support huge major studio productions, but also to create and develop its own films — that is world class, and we should be very proud of.”