Contemporary French Civilization

Global and local rhetorics at a public-facing private company: Studiocanal and French cinema

Contemporary French Civilization (2021), 46, (3), 309–327.

Abstract

This article utilizes Canal+’s film production and distribution subsidiary Studiocanal as a way to understand both companies’ impacts on French cinema since the formation of the subsidiary in the early 1990s. As such, the article is structured as a chronology and an analysis of the major films made in French and financed by Studiocanal in terms of their critical and popular reception. The article also examines the talent relationships underpinning this production and the trajectories of the various stars, writers, directors, and producers who worked on the films as well as the executives who oversaw them. Finally, the article analyzes the corporate rhetoric that was advanced by both Studiocanal and Canal+ over the years to position itself in the French and international markets. Synthesizing these branches of the analysis and noting certain cyclical patterns, the article argues that Studiocanal’s relationship to French cinema has been complex and changeable, at times limited in favor of pursuing the international market, at times devoting ample amounts of rhetoric and resources to pursuing success in its home market. Moreover, the article demonstrates that the company’s production activities have helped to mold a generation of French filmmakers and industry executives who have in turn gone on to influential careers. Looking forward, the article concludes by arguing that by virtue of its size and scale as a producer and distributor, Studiocanal will always be a significant player in French cinema.

Cet article utilise la filiale de production et de distribution de films de Canal+, Studiocanal, pour comprendre l’impact des deux sociétés sur le cinéma français depuis la création de la filiale au début des années 1990. A ce titre, l’article est structuré comme une chronologie et une analyse des grands films réalisés en français et financés par Studiocanal en termes de réception critique et populaire. L’article examine également les relations de talent qui sous-tendent cette production et les trajectoires des différentes stars, écrivains, réalisateurs et producteurs qui ont travaillé sur les films ainsi que des dirigeants qui les ont supervisés. Enfin, l’article analyse la rhétorique d’entreprise qui a été mise en avant par Studiocanal et Canal+ au fil des ans pour se positionner sur les marchés français et internationaux. Synthétisant ces branches de l’analyse et notant certains schémas cycliques, l’article soutient que la relation de Studiocanal au cinéma français a été complexe et changeante, parfois limitée en faveur de la poursuite du marché international, consacrant parfois suffisamment de rhétorique et de ressources à la poursuite du succès sur son marché domestique. De plus, l’article démontre que les activités de production de l’entreprise ont contribué à façonner une génération de cinéastes et de dirigeants de l’industrie francaise qui ont à leur tour poursuivi des carrières influentes. Tourné vers l’avenir, l’article conclut en faisant valoir qu’en raison de sa taille et de son envergure en tant que producteur et distributeur, Studiocanal sera toujours un acteur important du cinéma français.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Works cited

Allociné spectator database. 28 Jun. 2019, http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm-214860/box-office/. Google Scholar

Boudier, Christian. “Le Studio veut miser sur L’Europe de Canal+.” Le Film Français, no. 2534, 25 Nov. 1994, pp. 6–7. Google Scholar

boxofficemojo.com. 28 Jun. 2019. Web. Google Scholar

Buchsbaum, Jonathan. Exception Taken: How France has Defied Hollywood’s New World Order. Columbia UP, 2017. Google Scholar

CNC. “Results 2017.” 2018. https://www.cnc.fr/web/en/publications/results-2017_557488. Google Scholar

Darmon, Audrey. Interview with Christopher Meir. 23 Oct. 2015. Google Scholar

Frodon, Jean-Michel. “Crises et mutations.” Cahiers du cinema, no. 608, 2006, pp. 11–14. Google Scholar

James, Alison. “Paris is Burning Over Lescure Exit.” Variety, 16 Apr. 2002. Web. Google Scholar

James, Alison. “Studiocanal Regroups Film Ops.” Variety, 9 May 2004. Web. Google Scholar

Johnson, Jo, and Martine Orange. The Man Who Tried to Buy the World: Jean-Marie Messier and Vivendi Universal. Penguin, 2004. Google Scholar

Kuhn, Raymond. “Canal+: from innovative newcomer to beleaguered brand.” Contemporary French Civilization, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 267–285. Google Scholar

Lamassoure, Patrick. “Le Studio Canal+ a misé sur plus d’une vintaigne de films en 1995.” Le Film Français, no. 2590, 22 Dec. 1995, p. 8. Google Scholar

Lumiere Database. 28 Jun. 2019, http://lumiere.obs.coe.int/web/search/. Google Scholar

Meir, Christopher. “European Cinema in an Era of Studio-Building: Some Artistic and Industrial Tendencies in Studiocanal’s Output, 2006-Present.” Studies in European Cinema, vol. 16, no. 1, 2019a, pp. 5–21. Google Scholar

Meir, Christopher. Mass Producing European Cinema: Studiocanal and Its Works. Bloomsbury, 2019b. Google Scholar

Meir, Christopher. “Studiocanal and the Changing Industrial Landscape of European Film and Television.” Media Industries, vol. 3, no. 1, 2016, pp. 49–63. Google Scholar

Miller, Toby, Nitin Govil, John McMurria, and Richard Maxwell. Global Hollywood.BFI, 2001. Google Scholar

Studiocanal (N.D.). “History.” Corporate Webpage. 28 Jun. 2019, http://www.studiocanal.com/en/studiocanal-group/historical. Google Scholar

Tartaglione, Nancy. “Studiocanal Bows to Audience Demands.” Screen International, 19 Dec. 2003a. Web. Google Scholar

Tartaglione, Nancy. “Studiocanal Faces Crippling Staff Losses.” Screen International, 15 Jan. 2003b. Web. Google Scholar

Vanderschelden, Isabelle. “Translating ‘l’esprit Canal’ into comedy screenplays: Canal+’s role in the development of French comedy film trends.” Contemporary French Civilization, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 331–352. Google Scholar

Vivendi. 2015 Annual Report. 2016, https://www.vivendi.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20160331_Vivendi_Annual_Report_Fiscal_Year_2015.pdf. Google Scholar

Vivendi. 2016 Annual Report. 2017, https://www.vivendi.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/20170331_VIV_DDR_2016_EN_00.pdf. Google Scholar

Vivendi. 2017 Annual Report. 2018, http://content.zone-secure.net/vivendi/annual-report-2017/. Google Scholar

Vivendi. 2018 Annual Report. 2019, https://www.vivendi.com/en/publication/annual-report-2018/. Google Scholar

Williams, Michael. “Canal+ Reports ‘96 Profits up 11.3%.” Variety, 19 Mar. 1997. Web. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Meir, Christopher