I have already remarked in a recent blog how quiet the Cannes Film Festival has become. Part of the reason can be explained by how few markets/distribution channels are available for independent productions. The Cannes market has drifted to one of fewer but higher quality films. Only movies that can justify international release have much chance of selling. ‘We used to do 10 movies a year – this year we will be happy if we do four’ says Nicholas Chartier, Producer and CEO of Voltage Pictures
Movies that don’t go theatrical just aren’t as viable in the current market. It’s become the business of finding a unicorn. You need to find the perfect movies that don’t cost too much and that have a defined audience.
Another major factor is the demand from studios to always include worldwide rights. Producers must be careful not to pre-sell too aggressively if they are aiming at a deal with the majors.
The bottom line seems to be that there is a growing gap between the haves and have nots in the film world. A small number of players – the major studios as well as Lionsgate and STX are able to pull off the wide release of an independently financed film. A case in point is the Chris Hemsworth action – comedy movie ‘Down Under Cover’ which has been courted by the major studios prepared to pay around $40 for the movie. $40m for a movie is an achievable and common buy in for these players – but - hence where the world is changing – the Netflix budget together with those of the other streaming companies, can and do, easily top this.
As I said – the world in Cannes is shrinking.