Þórir Snær: Sveigjanleiki er mikilvægur

Á niðurskurðartímum í kvikmyndabransanum er Scanbox að ráða reynslumikla framleiðendur og plana stækkun á Norðurlöndunum. Hvað er í gangi? Þórir Snær Sigurjónsson forstjóri Scanbox ræðir við Nordic Film and TV News.

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As the film and series industry is struggling with a recession as a result of a variety of factors – rebounds from the war in Ukraine and the strikes in US industry being the most demanding. Something is happening at the companies that have joined forces under the Vuelta Group, an organisation located in Paris and founded by CEO Jerome Levy, mainly backed by a still unnamed American investor. The first companies to join were Germany’s SquareOne, Scandinavia’s Scanbox, and international sales company Playtime. Later, Italy’s Indiana, France’s Pan and Germanys Telepool joined. More production and distribution companies will follow.

It all makes perfect sense to Scanbox CEO Thor Sigurjonsson: “Vuelta Group gives us a wider scope. Especially in these times, being part of a European entity is much more important than being alone in Scandinavia. It gives us a lot more control, and the ability to shake things up. The difference between us and everybody else is that our model is more based on working with other people in other companies, figuring out how to custom-fit the product. We try to be open to this. I work with Nicolas Winding Refn. He has partners he likes to work with, and that’s fine, but I can bring other people into the collaboration. I think flexibilty is the most important thing I can bring to the table when talking about Vuelta.”

When asked if the film and series industry is going through messy and confusing times, Sigurjonsson says:

“Absolutely. Buying international films is a minefield. We used to be able to estimate how many tickets we could sell for a film. Now, the floor has gone lower. It’s really tricky. You can end up selling literally 300 tickets for a fairly commercial film that may be watched at 40 cinemas in Denmark. There’s no guarantee for succcess. On top of this, films are very expensive right now. There are lots of products, but they are expensive, and you have to be very careful. This brings up the question: ‘Are films too expensive?’ And I don’t think we’ve ever had that discussion within our industry.”

However, hiring new producers at the Copenhagen office is not a result of a strategy to cope with the crises. The idea of expanding, especially in the Nordic territories, was always a part of the bigger scheme. Being part of the Vuelta Group just makes it easier:

“We’re fulfilling a plan that we had before we joined Vuelta. For a long time we wanted to do our own production, along with distribution with selected partners. We just bought the majority part of Ymer Media in Norway. Previously, we had a partnership on distribution, but we weren’t really ready to venture into local Norwegian films. We’re cautious about Sweden, because their local films have struggled, but we have stepped into that market with a couple of films a year for distribution.”

When asked about other plans for the future, Thor Sigurjonsson says:

“On the international side, we are gearing up, in the sense that we are buying bigger films than we used to, like The Beekeeper, Civil War and Back to Black. We feel that the upmarket films we were doing before have been badly hit at the box office. We don’t know why, but perhaps audiences have wider access to streaming services after COVID.”

Klapptré er sjálfstæður miðill sem birtir fréttir, viðhorf, gagnrýni og tölulegar upplýsingar um íslenska kvikmynda- og sjónvarpsbransann. Ritstjóri er Ásgrímur Sverrisson.