Country Focus: France
Debate heats up between exhibitors and producers
by Fabien Lemercier
- The APC (Film Producers Association) and the SPI (Independent Producers Union) have launched a biting counter-attack in response to the symbolic initiative led by the National Federation of French Cinemas - FNCF last Wednesday, which involved switching off movie theatres’ neon signs (see news).
In a joint statement, the two organisations expressed "their dismay that the FNCF should call into question the sharing of takings from theatrical exhibition with rights-holders, giving the false justification of a change in distribution windows which came into force barely three months ago."
The APC and SPI didn’t spare any criticism: "Which other businesses, in France, make a gross margin of at least 50%, and often more, compared to their suppliers? Furthermore, exhibitors don’t contribute to the pre-financing of films, and many of them are charging more and more for trailers and overall film promotion in theatres and refuse to ensure that additional takings from confectionary, for instance, contribute to investment in film creation."
The APC and SPI asked that "the Culture Minister promise to maintain the level by which rights-holders are paid a minimum of 50% of takings generated by theatres, as well as enforce better exhibition of films in cinemas and an increased contribution from those exhibitors who use films as loss leaders to sell related merchandise without making any financial contribution to film creation".
However, the two organisations also called for support measures to be introduced for the small and medium-sized exhibitors currently in difficulty.
This stormy debate emerges against a backdrop of widespread tension, for the technical industries are also undergoing a serious crisis marked by last week’s compulsory liquidation of photochemical laboratory GTC and post-production company Centrimage, both subsidiaries of the Eclair group.