Entertainment One is preparing to shutter its theatrical distribution operation in Germany, Variety has learned.
The move by the company, which was acquired by toy giant Hasbro in December, is not a response to COVID-19, Variety understands. Rather it was a commercial decision based on the intense competitiveness of the German theatrical market, and the difficulty in acquiring movies – in particular, local movies – for the territory at the right price.
Early last year, eOne ceased to theatrically distribute movies directly in Australia and New Zealand, after it struck a deal with Universal Pictures Intl., which now handles the release of eOne’s movies in the countries.
The company is still working on the exact timeline of the closure of its Munich office, as it is in discussions with its partners on the details of the withdrawal. It will now have to decide whether to distribute its movies through a partner in the territory or release them with various distributors.
Benjamina Mirnik-Voges has been in charge of eOne’s film operations in Germany since it established a presence there in 2017. She joined eOne from Universum Film, where she had served as head of feature film acquisitions and co-production. She was appointed by Alex Hamilton, eOne’s president, international, film, who left the company in December 2018.
Its first theatrical release in Germany was “7 Days in Entebbe,” starring Rosamund Pike, which was a hit. Other successes included “Green Book,” starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Releases included “On the Basis of Sex,” “Judy” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz.” “Misbehaviour,” starring Keira Knightley, which was released in Germany at the start of the month, is likely to be its swansong.
Entertainment One would not comment on the speculation, which was first reported in German trade Blickpunkt Film, and subsequently in Variety’s sister title Deadline.