Marc Wooldridge, the former head of 20th Century Fox Film Distribution in Australia, is launching Maslow Entertainment, a new production development and distribution company. The move comes at a time when film distribution remains one of the industry sectors worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pace of change within the industry has clearly been accelerated by recent events. While the appetite for entertainment continues to grow, technology’s influence on production, promotion and distribution means it makes sense to consider different ways of doing things and Maslow is definitely up for the challenge,” Wooldridge said in a statement.
Wooldridge told Variety that “this is a great time for entrepreneurial companies.” He said that Maslow, named after the “hierarchy of human needs” psychology theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in the mid-20th Century, will have “the experience of a studio and the mindset of a startup.”
Prior to becoming MD of Fox Distribution in Australia, Wooldridge’s previous career moves included roles as the company’s marketing director, and a six-year stint in Tokyo as Asia VP covering Japan and the Asia Pacific.
Wooldridge said that he remains optimistic about the theatrical business, though conceded that the challenges are currently out of its control. Australia has a high per capita cinema attendance rate. And unlike other Asian territories which skew heavily towards young demographics, Australian cinemas draw audiences from across the age spectrum.
No titles have yet been unveiled on either the distribution or production sides, though the company says it is looking at international and local content, and that its sales and marketing side will cover all distribution channels, focusing on theatrical and rapidly growing video-on-demand platforms
“With an emphasis on audience insight, a flexible structure and first-rate execution, Maslow will deliver smart release strategies and novel promotional campaigns across a broad range of titles,” the company statement said.
On the production side, Wooldridge says that the company will offer “earlier, more in-depth interaction between the commercial and creative sides of the process,” and adopt a “discovery to distribution approach (that) aims to identify and develop the most viable projects, promote better audience alignment and optimize release strategies.”
In a consultancy role, Maslow will provide investors, screen agencies and producers with commercial insight and advice. For the creative community specifically, Maslow offers pitch and script feedback, financial analysis, and guidance on optimal marketing strategies and positioning.
“The commercial side is not involved enough in film development,” Wooldridge told Variety. “Australia is predominantly independent producers second guessing the market. Part of development needs to be about getting the audience right.”