Pathe UK exits the UK film production business

Pathe UK
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In spite of the success of The Great Escaper, Pathe UK is moving exclusively to television, and ceasing its film work.

Well, this is very sad news. Even as these words are being written, plaudits continue to be aimed at The Great Escaper, the much-liked film starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson. It’s the latest film to be released in the UK by Pathe UK, which has been putting films into British cinemas for over 20 years.

But it also looks as though The Great Escaper will be one of its last.

It’s been announced that Pathe UK is to refocus its business, away from cinema and instead towards scripted television. The company will be reducing its headcount down from 15 people working on the UK side to 12.

Pathe itself isn’t exiting the film business: instead, it’s going to be centring its film production work through its office in Paris. It’ll also complete the films that it has in the works at the moment, including Oliver Hermanus’ planned movie of Alexander McQueen.

To give a flavour of the films we have Pathe UK to thank for, it’s been behind, to varying degrees, Slumdog Millionaire, The Queen, Pride and Chicken Run.

Cameron McCracken, who served as head of film at Pathe UK, is retiring, and Faith Penhale will be heading up the UK arm of Pathe going forward.

The news follows the loss of Entertainment One from UK film distribution earlier this year. EOne had been purchased by Hasbro, primarily for its big brand names such as Peppa Pig. That EOne was distributing around 15 films in the UK that otherwise would have struggled for distribution was collateral damage. EOne’s London office closed earlier this year.

In the case of Pathe UK, at least there’s still an active production arm, and at least films are still on the agenda within the broader company. But it’s still hard not to see this as something of a hammer blow to the UK film industry. A name that had fought for and stuck by British filmmaking talent is no longer an option, and the theatrical landscape in the UK is a little poorer for it.

Screen Daily

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