7 items from 2014
Distribbed by Besson’s own EuropaCorp Distribution, “Lucy” nuked all opposition, taking a 43% market shasre and storming on Wednesday to 351, o54 tix sales off 615 copies, per Cbo-BoxOffice.com: About $3.0 million in one-day gross box office. Figure does not include prior sneak-peak premieres.
Opening marks the best-ever first day for a Besson-directed movie – and many of the 55-year-old director’s titles have gone boffo in France – and the fourth-best first day of any film this year, only bettered by Fox’s “How To Train Your Dragon 2” (427,234 admissions) and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and Dany Boon’s “Superchondriac,” distribbed by Pathe (367,153).
Explanations for the boffo opening: Huge anticipation at »
- John Hopewell
As a result of her new mental and physical talents – bestowed upon her by drugs that exploded inside her stomach – she becomes a commodity to the police force. With her skills, they hope to find the other drug mules and drug kingpin Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi). Lucy’s talents amaze brain expert Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), who tries to help her control her unheard of capabilities and remain in control of her life.
Critics are split on what to make of the latest female-driven action film by Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element). On the one hand, there’s something to be said for Besson’s determination to push further and harder in new and insane directions in Lucy. Yet, on the other hand, »
The son of scuba-diving instructors, Luc Besson came of age exploring the depths of the ocean floor and inventing stories out of the debris he would find along the shore. Some 50 years later, he is still playing with rocks in the sand — only now his shoreline is the river Seine and his castle a 667,000-square-foot film studio called Cite du Cinema (literally Cinema City). Built from the shell of a 1930s thermal power plant in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis, the sprawling complex — which includes nine soundstages, a 500-seat auditorium and a full-service restaurant — is headquarters for Besson’s prolific production and distribution outfit, EuropaCorp, plus a host of affiliated vendors and two film schools.
On a recent Friday afternoon, despite a bank-holiday weekend in France, Cite du Cinema was a hive of activity as editors, sound mixers and visual effects artists readied two new EuropaCorp productions for their »
- Scott Foundas
Over the course of his dozen-plus films as a writer-director, Parisian auteur Luc Besson has become known for his stylish inversions of schlock genre fare and a certain, shall we call it, Vive la femme attitude toward women.
Time and again, his movies place emotionally fragile female characters in physically perilous situations: a conflicted hit-woman struggling with the perils of her job in 1990’s La Femme Nikita, 12-year old Natalie Portman on the run as an assassin-in-training in The Professional, and Milla Jovovich’s universe-saving alien Leeloo in The Fifth Element (1997) among them. Besson’s latest multiplex offering appears set to follow that template. »
- Chris Lee
Annecy — In an edition galvanized by spectacular first glimpse presentations — Pixar’s “Inside Out,” Sony’s “The Smurfs Movie,” Pathe’s “Evolution Man” — the premiere of Disney’s “Feast,” a new trailer of “Boxtrolls” and North America deals for Gotham’s GKids, new deal reveals were going down as Annecy’s Mifa market thinned late Friday morning.
In pacts announced on the last day of trading, Bac Films will sell internationally and distribute in France “Funan.”
Denis Do’s semi-autobiographical story “centers on the epic struggle of Do’s mother to find her other son, having been separated from him during the reign-of-terror of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. France’s Les Films d’Ici (“Waltz With Bashir”) produces. Pic was a Mifa Feature Film pitch last year at Annecy.
Meanwhile, Stephane Roelants at Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions confirmed he had signed at Annecy with a yet-to-be-disclosed international sales agent »
- John Hopewell
Annecy — Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp is teaming with Gallic conglom Lagardere Active, a major French force in kids’ TV entertainment, to develop an animated 3D TV adventure series inspired by Besson’s “Arthur and the Invisibles” movie trilogy.
After EuropaCorp announced it was pulling out of feature animation – it released its last animation film movie, “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart,” which will receive an open-air screening at Annecy Friday, on Feb. 5 – the “Arthur and the Invisibles” skein marks a return to animation, but in TV, where exposure to loss is far more limited.
Conceived as a 52 part, 15-minute seg series, “Arthur and the Invisibles” will target kids 5-8.
Series will take the set-up and main characters from the movies and indeed Besson’s children’s books, on which they were in turn based: the miniature Minimoys, a pacific tribe, are threatened by the dastardly warrior Maltazard; Arthur, whose lies over-ground with his grandmother, »
- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy
With a track record spanning more than 80 feature films and almost 1,000 commercials, Buf Compagnie is diversifying its revenue sources and forging long-term partnerships by positioning itself as a co-producer rather than just a standard vfx shop.
The change began when Buf produced Oscar-nominated short “Even Pigeons Go to Heaven” in 2007 and launched Angele & Fine Productions, named after founder Pierre Buffin’s daughters, to line-produce international projects that are serviced by Buf under France’s Trip tax rebate scheme. Titles have included “Thor,” “The Grandmaster” and “Odd Thomas.”
The company also operates two L.A. production arms: Angele Productions for live-action projects and Fine Productions for animation.
In 2012, Buf established post houses in Montreal and Brussels to access local tax shelters.
Its first project via the Brussels unit was Nicolas Bary’s €12 million ($16 million) dark comedy, “The Scapegoat,” which bowed in France last October.
Co-productions include “Toby Alone,” with Amber Entertainment, »
- Martin Dale
7 items from 2014
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