Fox, WB shift output deals in Belgium and Netherlands


An earthquake is about to hit the theatrical distribution landscape in the Netherlands, with Fox and Warner Bros. at the epicenter.

The studios are expected to announce changes in the next few days that will see the Warners office in the Netherlands handle theatrical releases for Fox, while Fox will take on Warners product across Belgium.

The shake-up, according to sources within the companies, will see the closure of Fox's Netherlands operations, with Warners taking up Dutch duties April 1.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Netherlands managing director Wilco Wolfers on Wednesday confirmed his exit from the company to take the reins as managing director of A-Film, the biggest independent distributor in the Netherlands.

Wolfers said that his move to A-Film had nothing to do with the upcoming changes in the Warners Amsterdam office, where he worked for eight years.

"For me, A-Film represents a new challenge with its impressive catalog and interesting home entertainment outlets," he said. "In this new job I can use all my expertise from my previous positions. Furthermore, I can now also be involved in productions at the earliest stage."

A-Film said it was happy to have secured the services of Wolfers, a well-known figure in the Dutch film world, where he also is chairman of the Dutch industry trade body Nederlandse Vereninging van Filmdistributeurs.

"We firmly believe that Wilco Wolfers will be setting out strategies for new and innovative possibilities in film distribution. His expertise lies both in theatrical distribution as in home entertainment, which is in line with A-Film's all-media strategy," A-Film owner W2Media's Philip Wolf said.

Wolfers succeeds Pim Hermeling, the co-founder of A-film, who stepped down last week following the sale of his shares to W2Media on April 14.

Hermeling is still working on the deal between his former company and French production, sales and finance house Wild Bunch.

Industry observers here are tipping Hermeling for a swift return to independent distribution in the Netherlands with a new startup, though insiders said he might also stay linked in some way to A-Film.

Reps at Fox and Warners declined comment.