Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is proving an art house delicacy in the UK. The director’s English-language debut, which took the Cannes Jury Prize in May, has passed £1M at the UK/Ireland box office with £1.08M as of the weekend. This puts it in the company of comp Under The Skin, another art house hit out of the UK, which which closed its run at £1.17M in 2013. The Lobster, released by Picturehouse Entertainment and Element Pictures Distribution on October 16, leads nominations for the British Independent Film Awards with seven total. It also has four EFA nominations. Starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, the unconventional love story takes place in the near future where single people are obliged to find a mate in 45 days or be transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. The film has also performed beyond expectations in all other international territories that have opened to date including Australia (Sony), Belgium (Imagine Films), France (Haut et Court), Italy (Good Films), the Netherlands (De Filmfreak), and Korea (Contents Gate). Alchemy has U.S. rights. The Lobster is produced by Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Ceci Dempsey and Lanthimos.
France’s leading commercial broadcaster, TF1, has entered into an agreement to acquire a 70% equity interest in FLCP, the holding company of local production group Newen. Existing shareholders, including the management team, will retain a 30% equity interest. Newen makes such Canal Plus series as Braquo and the Anglo-French drama Versailles. This is TF1’s first move into indie production, auguring what could be a potential mirror of the UK’s acquisitive ITV. “The main objective is to develop French production in foreign markets, especially with major European broadcasters,” TF1 said. “The deal is consistent with the TF1 group’s strategy of positioning itself in content, and as such aims to develop a new line of business operating independently of the Group’s channels.” When the deal was first mooted last month, it led to public broadcaster France Télévisions suspending its projects with Newen, saying the prodco generates two-thirds of its revenues and that it didn’t agree that FT’s investments — which mostly are funded by license fee payers — should be subject to a commercial transaction. TF1 today issued assurances that Newen would retain editorial control and marketing independence, but an FT spokesperson told C21Media those assurances don’t resolve the issue of the protection of its investments. The deal is subject to scrutiny by the relevant authorities over the coming weeks.
Master Of Photography, the first European TV talent contest open to both professional and amateur photographers, is headed to SkyArts in the spring. Created by Sky Arts Production Hub, the show will air in Sky territories across Europe. A committee of photography and art experts will select a lineup of 12 contestants who will compete for the title of Best New European Photographer and the biggest prize ever offered in a European photography competition: €150K. The winning photograph also will be donated to a prestigious museum for display.