International Exec You Should Know: Stephane Celerier

The past year has been a busy one for Stephane Celerier. Not only did his first co-production, Eric Lartigau’s “La Famille Belier,” lead France’s Mars Distribution to new box office heights, becoming the highest-grossing French film of 2015, with 7.5 million tickets sold (an approximate $50 million gross), but he was also tapped as VP of Studiocanal in September, when the Gallic giant bought a 30% share in the indie powerhouse.

Mars, which Celerier helped launch in 1998 as a distribution arm of Bac Films, was France’s top indie distributor in 2015, with such reasonably budgeted French crowd-pleasers as Julie Delpy’s “Lolo,” Rudi Rosenberg’s “The New Kid,” Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Wolf Totem” and Melanie Laurent and Cyril Dion’s docu “Demain,” as well as projects from Woody Allen (“Irrational Man”) and Asif Kapadia (“Amy”). The company acquires projects at the script or concept stage.

Celerier proved his resilience after going through a rough stretch in 2012 and 2013, with a series of pricey pics that underperformed at the local box office, notably Guillaume Canet’s English-language debut “Blood Ties.” Though he has a reputation for offering lucrative minimum guarantees to win bidding wars for films, and for overspending on marketing campaigns, he has been tightening the purse strings lately, and diversifying into production. Next on the slate after “La Famille Belier”: “Two Is a Family,” Hugo Gelin’s feel-good dramedy starring Omar Sy.

Going forward, Celerier says, Mars will be producing French- and English-language projects. Along with partner Valerie Garcia, he is developing 12 movies, including the shingle’s first English-language film, “Destiny.”

“We’ve modestly created a brand, and we’re known for being passionate about movies and grand auteurs. As producers, we’re greatly inspired by the kinds of films that Working Title and Fox Searchlight deliver,” Celerier says.

When Mars was launched, its mandate was to focus on smart crossover films directed by talented emerging filmmakers from France and overseas. That mandate is evident in Berlin, where Celerier has Michael Grandage’s “Genius,” starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, which will world premiere at the festival.

Jean Labadie, a producer and head of French production house Le Pacte, attributes Celerier’s success to hard work and loyalty. “He’s ultra passionate and (has remained) faithful to a group of directors,” Labadie says. “And I’ve never seen him count his work hours.”

More Film

  • Lion King merchandise

    'The Lion King': Disney Targets Nostalgic Adults With High-End Merchandise

    Does Nala wear lipstick? Probably not, but “Lion King” fans can celebrate the release of the live-action remake with a new line of makeup that’s part of a whole pride of other items themed to Disney’s live action redo. For about $40, the Can’t Wait to Be Queen eyeshadow palette by Luminess Cosmetics includes shades [...]

  • 'Cats' Movie Trailer: Watch Taylor Swift,

    'Cats' Trailer Drops: Watch Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson in Movie Musical

    Universal has released the first trailer for its film adaptation of the Broadway play, “Cats,” starring Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson and James Corden. Based on the book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot, the musical follows the Jellicle cats, a family of felines who go before the group’s leader Old Deuteronomy to [...]

  • Yvonne StrahovskiCritics' Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    'Handmaid's Tale's' Yvonne Strahovski Joins Chris Pratt in 'Ghost Draft' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Yvonne Strahovski is in negotiations to join Chris Pratt in Skydance’s sci-fi pic “Ghost Draft,” sources tell Variety. “Lego Batman’s” Chris McKay is attached to direct. “Ghost Draft,” written by Zach Dean, is about a man drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his [...]

  • Dreamville Dreamers doc

    J. Cole's Watchful Eye, All-Nighters and Weed: Inside Dreamville's 'Revenge' Doc

    Having the No. 1 project in the country is old hat for J. Cole, but the instant success of Dreamville’s highly-anticipated “Revenge of the Dreamers III” collection, which features collaborations with more than 25 artists, writers and producers (among them: Cozz, Omen, Bas, J.I.D., EarthGang and Ari Lennox), took many by surprise. The first installment [...]

  • The True Adventures of Wolfboy

    Karlovy Vary Film Review: 'The True Adventures of Wolfboy'

    Most teenage boys would kill for a few whiskers, but not Paul. At 13, he already has a full face of hair, and his peers treat him like a freak for it. So, too, does Martin Krejčí’s “The True Adventures of Wolfboy,” although the movie argues that perhaps being a freak isn’t such a bad [...]

  • 'Top Gun: Maverick' Trailer: Tom Cruise

    Tom Cruise Drops First Trailer for 'Top Gun: Maverick' at Comic-Con (Watch)

    Tom Cruise made a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday to hype the forthcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” and receive mass adoration from Hall H. “I felt it was my responsibility to deliver for you,” Cruise told the crowd, tugging local heartstrings by reminiscing on the original “Top Gun” shoot in Downtown San Diego. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content