A recent Variety magazine article about the Cannes Film Festival “Kings of Cannes” listed most important attendees. Number two was buyer Gordon Steel, acquiring movies for territories worldwide.
Gordon Steel has been making acquisitions and strategic planning by representing independent film distributors, one exclusively in each territory, for the past thirty-five years
Gordon Steel also arranges and sets up major studio distribution deals for individual territories. Recent examples of this for theatrical with NOS Lusomundo in Portugal are Warner Brothers, Sony and 20th Century Fox. Gordon also set up TF1 with Sony for an annual turnover of E200m for home entertainment in France.
Gordon has experience in a variety of entertainment areas:
Production and film budget investment financing: For 17 years Gordon was the only agent and advisor ever for Rank, which when he started was bigger than Disney. With a line of $100m Gordon financed and acquire movies for worldwide rights, which Rank would then sell all territories ex UK (where Rank had their own distribution & exhibition). A good example is "Fried Green Tomatoes" which after Gordon acquired in pre-production from Norman Lear, ended up Universal's #1 USA theatrical release of the year.
Management: In 2004 as the manager of Ryan Kavanaugh, Gordon arranged Ryan’s first significant financial deal, the $525m Marvel equity finance, which was the start of Relativity, which gave Ryan the creditability needed for a variety of other major studio financial transactions. Forbes March 2013 listed Ryan a new young American billionaire.
Strategic Advice and Acquisitions:
Samsung. During the ten years Gordon represented the company’s new motion picture side the parent company was then the 11th largest business worldwide. Gordon also worked in the Korean market for 7 years with CJ after their $300m equity investment had started Dreamworks.
Agent: After spending his first year in America as an actor for Universal television Gordon decided to learn business and switched to being a talent agent at Film Artists Management. His first responsibility was to find work for this then unknown huge Austrian bodybuilder. Everyone always asked: “Arnold...who? What’s that last name again... Schwarzn… what?”
Exhibition: Partnered with Bob Friedman, who was the President of AMC Worldwide Exhibition for 15 years (now Wanda), the President of USA Theatrical Distribution for Sony / Columbia 5 years and President USA Theatrical Distribution for United Artists (James Bond, Rocky, etc.) for 20 years.
Original Career: Actor.
For the first two years television started in Africa it was a monopoly for four hours each day. Gordon hosted, wrote and sometimes directed “Compass”, a weekly Wednesday evening 6:30pm SABC show. He quickly became very famous by handling the most poisonous snakes, climbing mountains, karate, race car driving, parachuting, surfing, hot-air ballooning and all the local wildlife from elephants to lions and rhinos. He was on all newspapers front page when a fireman, demonstrating on live TV how victims are rescued by climbing down a ladder carrying Gordon on his shoulders, slipped, dropped Gordon, but then managed to catch him again on his way down to the ground a hundred feet below!