Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Hollywood Babble On & On #1223: Europe, Movies, & Money.

The folks running Europe are hoping to streamline the movie business by eliminating what's called "Territorial Exclusivity." You see if you want to distribute a movie in Europe now, and don't already own a European distributor, you have to make a deal with distributors in each country or territory. If this new legislation becomes law, filmmakers will only have to deal with one distributor for the whole of Europe.

Filmmakers, especially independent ones, are not happy with this because they're pretty sure it'll kill their business.


Allow me to explain.

You see independent filmmakers and smaller studios like Lionsgate rely on the fact that films are sold in Europe on a country by country basis. If you don't have a major studio backing your movie you're going to have to go to Europe before you film, attend an event like the market at Cannes where all the deals are made, and you "pre-sell" your movie to the local theatrical and home video distributors. 

That adds up to a lot of Euros that independent filmmakers need to get their movies made.

If Europe gets reduced to one market, I'll bet you Euros to croissants that all the small regional distributors will be run out of business or absorbed by two to three all-Euro-encompassing major players who then dictate the prices they will pay for all of Europe.

That means indie filmmakers who need a dozen small players each putting up a certain amount will be forced to take whatever the new mega-sized trans-Europe distributors offer, and it probably won't be anywhere near enough.

Now I'm usually all for free trade over borders, but this is a situation that could easily lead to something akin to a monopoly in everything but name.

Which is why I think it's a bad idea.


  1. E.G.: The 90s Diamond distribution monopoly effects on comics and the subsequent near elimination of independent comic books from the market.

  2. Important question: would this change in law affect Netflix and other such services? Because there's currently a problem where a lot of services don't come to countries other than maybe the UK, France and Germany, because negotiating the distribution rights is more hassle than the potential gains.