Entertainment One keeps growing internationally with a rare intelligence at steady unrushed pace. As they enter Cannes to sell under the guidance of Charlotte Mickie, an international sales agent with impeccable credentials who still finds time to respond to special industry requests, they have, tucked under their belt, international distribution companies acquired with an eye toward profitability. Not relying on output deals, they now own not only the means of production but also the means of distribution itself. As a distributor in Canada, where eOne originated, it started from zero in 2007 and by 2009 had 4% of the market share (second place behind market leader Alliance where Patrice Theroux, eOne’s President, Filmed Entertainment and Charlotte both spent their early careers. Currently, eOne’s international presence extends into the U.K., U.S., Benelux, Germany, France, Scandinavia, South Africa and now most recently Australia and New Zealand.
“We’re growing our presence globally and this is a natural territory expansion for us to continue on. We like to buy well-run companies so there are never important changes to make. The acquisition is in line with our objectives and strategy, which is to expand our international distribution infrastructure. We build the infrastructure for distributing content, then source the content.”(Thank you Variety and Screen 11/6/09) says Theroux.
Charlotte Mickie, the Executive VP of Entertainment One Films International, will be in Cannes selling, among other new films, Julia Leigh’s ♀ debut film Sleeping Beauty, which is in Competition.
Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty
She is also selling Trish Dolman’s ♀ doc Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson and is preselling the Australian thriller Hunter, now in post. See their Cannes line-up on Cinando.
Mickie was previously the Managing Director of ISA Maximum Films (which was acquired in 2008 by Theroux, her former colleague at Alliance) and before that she was Managing Director of Celluloid Dreams where she handled films such as Michael Haneke’s Funny Games USA and Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. Mickie was previously head of Alliance Independent. Among the movies she acquired and/or sold were Bowling for Columbine, Welcome to the Dollhouse and The Sweet Hereafter.
Mickie currently serves on the Board of the AFM and on Advisory Boards for Images Film Festival, ACE (Les Ateliers du Cinéma Européen), IFP (Independent Feature Project), and the TIFF Rogers Industry Centre. She also sits on the Gala Committee for the Canadian Art Foundation.
See below the jump for more on company acquisitions.
Other companies, most notably Polygram and briefly Celluloid Dreams, have tried to create a multi-territorial semi-autonomous distribution network but no one – until now – has succeeded.
Theroux is quoted in Screen International:
“We take input from all our territories because they know their territories better than anyone. Each feeds into the central intelligence system; the projects are reviewed and the information gets sent to the heads of the business units in each territory. It happens quickly, especially when the project is high profile.” A case in point is Jeunet’s Micmacs, which was being presold at Cannes 2008 at script stage. “Everybody reads it,” recalls Theroux. The worldwide team discussed the cast — which includes Dany Boon and Dominique Pinon — and the track record of Jeunet, whose Amelie charmed the world. “The managers in Canada and the U.K. decided to go ahead and make an offer while Benelux chose not to at that point.” In contrast, when the Peter Weir project, The Way Back, was at script stage, only eOne U.K .signed on. In 2009 Cannes, a promo reel was screened and Benelux decided to acquire it. “Now we have it for the two territories,” says Theroux. “It’s an organic, collaborative process.”
The success of the Twilight series, acquired through eOne’s multi-territory output deal with Summit, has powered eOne’s performance in all its territories. As of 2009, it had a 2.1% local market share in the U.K. with its company (formerly Contender), again, just behind Alliance’s Momentum’s 2.4%. In Benelux, they acquired the Netherlands-based RCV, the leader in the territory with 6.1% market share. Koch Entertainment in the U.S. was renamed Entertainment One and may expand from straight-to-video DVD and VoD to theatrical.
Sydney-based HHopscotch, their most recent company acquisition is the leading Australian indie distributor. The completion of the $21 million deal, which has been “part of conversations” between the two for several years, is expected around May 4. Entertainment One, a publicly-listed company, raised the acquisition money in the U.K. through a share issue.
Hopscotch’s management team, led by managing director Troy Lum, Frank Cox and Sandie Don, will remain in place. The acquisition will help Hopscotch acquire larger and more commercial movies, while Entertainment One will feed its movies and TV series into Australia via Hopscotch. Founded in 2002, Hopscotch is one of the leading distributors in Australia and New Zealand, focusing on indie international titles as well as local content. In 2010, Hopscotch released 15 titles theatrically and has a library of more than 300 features and TV titles. Over the last three years, its notable releases include “The Wrestler,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Barney’s Version.” Its 2011 slate includes “Incendies,” “Beginners” and May 5 release “Source Code,” toplining Jake Gyllenhaal.
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Email: cmickie AT entonegroup.com
Fax: (416) 979-5824
More About Entertainment One
Entertainment One (LSE: ETO) is a leading international entertainment company that specializes in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and television content. The company’s comprehensive network extends around the globe including Canada, the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Benelux, France, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Through established Entertainment and Distribution divisions, the company provides extensive expertise in film distribution, television and music production, family programming and merchandising and licensing. Its current rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 20,000 film and television titles, 2,400 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.
Entertainment One Films International is the worldwide film sales division of Entertainment One, and represents producers of independent theatrical feature films from Canada and elsewhere, in connection with distribution and sales throughout the world. eOne Films International has entered into agreements with many of the world’s leading independent filmmakers, including Atom Egoyan, Michael Winterbottom, Guy Maddin, Deepa Mehta, Jeremy Podeswa, Charles Binamé, and Santosh Sivan, as well as emerging top directors like Sophie Barthes, Ruba Nadda, and Cherien Dabis. Several of the recent films represented by eOne have included Academy Award® nominated films Denis Villenueuve’s “Incendies” and Lucy Walker’s Waste Land. eOne International also holds worldwide rights to David Michôd’s acclaimed Australian drama “Animal Kingdom”, director Monte Hellman’s “Road to Nowhere” and recently acquired rights to Daniel Nettheim’s upcoming Australian thriller “The Hunter”.