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INDUSTRY France / Germany

Canal + sets its sights on Kinowelt

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Canal + sets its sights on Kinowelt

According to reports published in the German press, French group Canal + (subsidiary of Vivendi) are currently in advanced negotiations to buy out German distributor Kinowelt.

With Studio Canal in France (in 9th position in 2007 with 7.78m admissions garnered by the 24 films distributed) and UK company Optimum Releasing acquired last year (see news), the acquisition of Kinowelt would mark a further step towards establishing an influential pan-European distribution network across the three European countries with the highest box office.

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Headed by Michael Kölmel, Kinowelt achieved a turnover in 2006 of €107m. A distributor of films in theatres, on video and for the television, the company has been based in Leipzig since June 2003, with its acquisition and production departments located in Munich.

In 2005 and 2006, Kinowelt only distributed two French productions per year, but recorded a great success with 1.45m admissions for March of the Penguins [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Luc Jacquet, a director on whom they are once again pinning their hopes with the release of The Fox and the Child [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
in German theatres on December 27.

The outfit also distributed the Dardenne brothers' The Child [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne
film profile
]
(Palme D’Or winner at Cannes 2005) and their line-up for 2008 includes Marc Caro’s Dante 01 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
.

Other films recently released by Kinowelt include the acclaimed title Reclaim Your Brain [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Hans Weingartner, out since November 15.

Rodolphe Belmer, the delegated Director General of Canal +, declined to comment on these reports to Cineuropa. The group already made the news last week with the departure of Frédéric Sichler from StudioCanal (see news) and is in the middle of renegotiating the rights to once again broadcast French championship football matches.

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(Translated from French)

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