International Film Business Turns 80

by Sydney Levine
June 23, 2010 10:50 AM
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It has finally happened. With China's and India's near 15% yearly growth in their domestic markets, the international field will open up from its current 60% market share to 75-80% in the next decade. When I began in acquisitions in the 80s, U.S. represented 90% of the world market. U.S. is still the world's largest market, but China will quickly become #2 and India's international expansion in co-productions and investments abroad will open up its own domestic market to the world's producers as well. Indians are avid film goers and there is no shortage of multiplexes. China is forcing co-production as the only way into its market for any producers wanting to play in the Chinese marketplace.

On the indie film side, with the increase of international local productions and co-productions, U.S. often does not figure in the worldwide box office at all. This trend has been recognized by the majors who are amping up their own local production. An example of this is Fox's participation in Indian production My Name is Khan which not only did well in India but, according to Ajay Goyal of Norasco Films, India and Raja Chinal of NDFC, India, has brought in US$73 million from the India Diaspora abroad as well as from China where it reached US$38.4m. It set opening weekend records for a Bollywood film in the U.K., Australia, Germany, Spain, Holland, New Zealand and the UAE. It was a 20th Century Fox local production, that is, it was an Indian-U.S. co-production.

Screen Daily reports that David Kosse, President of Universal Pictures International, told the industry gathered at Cine Expo 2010 that he thinks international distribution is set for a growth period in the decade ahead. Kosse noted that currently international represents about 60% of a film’s business, but in the next 10 years he expects that to grow to 75-80%. “It’s well within reach,” Kosse said, as he was presented with Cine Expo’s International Distributor of the Year Award. “We are now at the very beginning of what this industry can do.” Kosse noted that for 13 years he’s been hearing about the growing importance of international markets, but he said now “the tide has finally turned and [international] really is the central point.” He said the first question asked at the start of any studio film is: “Will this play globally?”

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