FilmDistrict gets back into theatrical distribution

Category: Playing for Keeps News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: April 12, 2012 | Publication: Los Angeles Times | Author: Ben Fritz
Publication/Article Link:Los Angeles Times


Independent studio FilmDistrict is getting back into the theatrical distribution business with the hiring of a veteran MGM and Paramount executive.

The company behind "Insidious," "Drive" and this weekend's science-fiction thriller "Lockout" has been without a distribution operation since the former chief of that department, Bob Berney, unexpectedly left last November.

As a result, FilmDistrict partnered with Open Road Films and Sony Pictures to release most of its 2012 movies, including November's remake of "Red Dawn."

Its new president of distribution, Jim Orr, previously oversaw domestic distribution at MGM from 2006-2011. From 1987 until 2006 he worked in domestic distribution at Paramount, leaving as senior vice president of the department. Most recently he was a consultant whose clients included FilmDistrict.

The move comes soon after FilmDistrict hired the well-respected Christine Birch away from DreamWorks Studios as its president of marketing. Birch replaces Berney's wife Jeanne, who was executive vice president of marketing and left along with her husband.

December's Gerard Butler romantic comedy "Playing the Field" will be the first film released by the new FilmDistrict team of Orr and Birch.

FilmDistrict is headed by Chief Executive Peter Schlessel and backed by producer Graham King and his financing partner Tim Headington.