StudioCanal acquires Australian distribution outfit Hoyts – movieScope

The acquisition of Hoyts represents a statement of intent on behalf of StudioCanal, who recently bought out Optimum in the UK and Kinowelt in Germany.

Hoyts has a library of more than 120 titles and this winter will release the last part in the blockbuster Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, along with  Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, the Brad Pitt vehicle that competed for the Palme D’or at Cannes this year.

Hoyts has successfully released middlebrow thrillers like Roman Polanski’s Ghost Writer and Doug Liman’s Fair Game with crowd pleasing fare like Man on a Ledge, From Paris With Love and the other installments of the Twilight franchise.

Convincing Hoyts group to part with its distribution arm is something of a coup for StudioCanal. Hoyts Exhibition group is a successful player in the region; it manages 450 screens across 40 Australian and 10 New Zealand cinema complexes, making it Australia’s second largest cinema chain.

Val Morgan, the cinema advertising arm of the Hoyts group, dominates the cinema advertising market with over 95 per cent. market share.

StudioCanal seem keen to share in the Australian and New Zealand market, as well as monitoring a territory that has provided some notable success stories in the UK; not least David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom, Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown and Michael and Peter Spierig’s Daybreakers, which Hoyts released.

The Hoyts current staff, headed by CEO Robert Slaviero, will remain in tact but in time StudioCanal wants to add staff to drive the local production element.

StudioCanal CEO Olivier Courson told Screen: “The aim will be to strengthen the company and bring it more and bigger titles.

“We’ll be able to extend our successful multi-territory licensing to a fourth market for a marginal price. Similar projects work in the UK and Australia so there is real crossover.”

“This is a dynamic market,” he continued. “We have been analyzing the world situation and thought it could be worth us moving away from our base but to a market that is still among the world’s top ten. It is bigger than Italy and Spain.”

Hoyts CEO Robert Slaviero said to Screen: “This is great for the business and we are so pleased about the exciting times ahead. StudioCanal is a strong distribution business that produces its own content and acquires product. We’re extremely proud to be part of its growing success.”




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