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in Filmmaking
on May 16, 2009

A report in Screen Daily by Geoffrey McNab details problems independent producers and sales agents are having with Russian buyers as a result of the financial crisis. I’m not surprised to know that the below is happening, but it’s a little unusual to hear it discussed by the buyers themselves at a public panel.

From the article:

Russian distributors have issued a stark warning to U.S. sales agents – renegotiate deals on films acquired before the economic crisis or else they will stop buying altogether.

Their fiercely worded remarks came during a panel discussion at the RussianPavilion in Cannes today (Friday.)
Senior representatives from Russian companies including Central Partnership, Paradise Group and Art PictureStudios told western sellers that they will no longer do business under current terms.

The buyers listed their woes. During the economic crisis, DVD sales have crashed by an estimated 60%. Piracy is
rampant. TV channels are refusing to buy new films. The theatrical business – the only potential source of profit remains perilous in the extreme.

“That is why we are seeking reductions on the deals that were made a year or two years ago,” one buyer stated.

According to the article, buyers are asking for as much as a 90% reduction in previously negotiated sale prices.

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