Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Pathe No More

CHERI is the new Stephen Frears film, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a 'retired courtesan' in pre-World War I Paris. Kathy Bates also stars. The film was initially distributed in the UK by Pathe, the French company that is also a major exhibitor in France.

However, effective 13th April, Warner has taken over all of Pathe's distribution duties in the UK. Cheri will be the first title under the new regime, and it will be a test of how a major handles a smaller title. Warner Independent, the boutique arm of the studio, ceased to exist in 2008, famously almost condeming Slumdog Millionare to a straight-to-DVD release. Whether they will be able to bring the expertise that makes titles like The Dark Knight or Harry Potter franchises so succesful remains to be seen.

Cheri has a top cast and director and should appeal to fans of classy period dramas. With the right marketing and release this could be a solid earner for Warners. The good news is that the marketing team remains at Pathe, so we hope for some continuity...


  1. What happens to films when the distributor goes bottom up?Specifically I've just rented The Death of Mr Lazarescu distributed by Tartan,who are no longer with us;perhaps more importantly they seemed to have most of the Bergman back catalogue;do these films simply disappear into the ether,or do some other enterprising souls shell out?

  2. Yes Tartan's demise was a particulary sad one as they were a key distributors in the UK and basically single-handledly made Far Eastern genre films popular in the west.
    It would appear that their catalogue is owned by a company called World Cinema Ltd. Don't worry, someone will purchase the rights to their library as its a very lucrative list.