Industry / Market - France
Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming
"The cinema market is all about exceptions", according to Vincent Maraval
The head of Wild Bunch International sheds light on the current state of affairs at the Unifrance Film Meetings in Paris
Joined by Laura Houlgatte (managing director of UNIC – the International Union of Cinemas), director Dominik Moll (The Night of the 12th [+see also:
interview: Dominik Moll
film profile], which is released in Germany tomorrow) and Swiss distributor Laurent Dutoit (Agora Films) for a round table on the subject of "Reconnecting with cinemagoers worldwide", held during Export Day which opened the 25th edition of the Unifrance Film Meetings in Paris (running 10 – 17 January – read our news), famous sales agent and producer Vincent Maraval (Wild Bunch International, who are about to unveil a big rebrand) offered up his analysis of the current situation.
"Things are picking up, but not enough. People are gradually returning to cinemas, but I don’t know if we’ll get back to the situation as it was before, or how quickly this will happen. Because, on the one hand, cinema is a supply market, and, on the other, there are differences between the various countries. The real question is, to what degree are things picking up and in what kind of economic context?"
"On the American market, when it comes to the independent film sector, the traditional model has been replaced by the streaming model. Independent film has disappeared from cinemas. The American market is still more reliant on blockbusters. But studios are beginning to return to cinema releases, as Warner has done with one-to-two-month cinema windows. Broadly speaking, I think that’s the right kind of chronology for today’s world. As for the fabric of independent American producers, I believe it’s disappeared, because when you’re producing for platforms you’re not really independent anymore. Moreover, many of them have opted for series, which has left a hole. Foreign cinema, meanwhile, is hardly ever released in American cinemas now, unless for advertising purposes before dropping on platforms."
"That said, there does tend to be a pendulum effect, in the long term: we saw the rapid expansion of Miramax, for example, and the studios’ subsidiaries disappearing, etc. But it only took The King’s Speech [+see also:
interview: Tom Hooper
film profile] for all this to be reversed, because it’s always the exceptions which dictate trends and the market. Nevertheless, it’s possible that a certain type of viewer – sophisticated, well-off – has left cinemas behind because they’ve developed new habits. But, more generally speaking, I don’t believe the American market, which has been the focal point for film exports for a long time, is the market to watch anymore."
"We act as if admissions guide prices, but this hasn’t been the case for 15 years plus, except in France with its media chronology and its various actors who have to battle it out in a dynamic market. The real, broader question is how do we monetise it? For example, it’s said that Madame Claude [+see also:
interview: Florence Gastaud
film profile] only drew in tiny numbers of viewers in cinemas, but then racked up 20 million views in ten days on Netflix. Overall, sales prices aren’t dropping all that much, but today, we allow ourselves the option of a global deal, which doesn’t necessarily entail streaming, as shown by our deal with Focus Features for James Gray’s Armageddon Time. What we know for sure is that the cinema market is all about exceptions. And we wager on exceptions and firmly believe that our films have the potential to circulate worldwide. Moreover, we only ever recoup the cost of our films on the international market, so the more favourable a film seems to us, the longer we keep quiet about it: in fact, we decided not to organise presales for two or three films in our line-up."
(Translated from French)
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