Speaking at a daylong conference, held as part of the Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris, Newen Connect managing director Rodolphe Buet laid out his wider vision for the French film and TV banner, arguing that production outfits (such as his own) needed to play a larger role in direct B2C marketing, rather than leaving such investment responsibilities to the eventual broadcaster, while touting the benefits of exclusive theatrical windows, even if foreign sales to non-linear platforms accounted for a substantial percentage of a commercial studio’s revenue.
“The objective is to optimize the number of viewers,” said Buet, as he explained that even a smaller theatrical berth could help fuel the buzz that leads to greater windfalls later on. “The dream is to be a facilitator between the works and the public. [To help] the creative content find the right audience, sometimes the largest possible audience, and sometimes a smaller one.”
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When it comes to developing homegrown content, the Newen exec subscribed to a Think Local, Act Global ethos, pointing toward the Newen distributed “High Intellectual Potential” (pictured above) as an illustrative case study. While the lighthearted police comedy scored hearty international sales, finding perches in over 100 foreign territories, Buet was equally bullish on the title’s upcoming U.S. remake, commissioned by ABC Signature and shepherded by showrunner Drew Goddard.
“Making sure that productions, in their ready made value, allow for remake rights is a major objective,” Buet explained. “Because that is also a way to showcase the talent of French creatives.”
Buet spoke in glowing terms about the potential of the Metaverse, specifically as a way to help embellish and improve project pitches. “[Metaverse pitches] allow for a degree of creativity and connection with our partners that is much more involving and engaging, while providing a better understanding of the creator’s own vision,” he explained.
As an example, Buet cited the upcoming Andy Serkis directed “Madame” – a period epic that reimagines wax sculptor Madame Tussaud within an anarchic, action setting – that Newen is developing with Serkis’ Imaginarium Productions. “They have created their own universe,” Buet said of Serkis and his team. “And from the moment of the pitch, they can immerse potential broadcasters within it.”
Buet also cited a pitch forum, organized in conjunction with Series Mania, that will have participants pitch their eco-futurist projects within the Metaverse, and an outreach campaign targeting “Fortnite” players as two more examples of new media opportunities. “All of these innovations and initiatives allow us to develop our know-how, to support our talent and producers, and to reach out to new audiences,” said Buet. “And these ultra-creative universes can help our thoughts and methods to promote cinematographic and audiovisual projects.”
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