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Overture deals with Film Department: Companies pact for 'Citizen'

Category: Law Abiding Citizen News
Article Date: January 29, 2009 | Publication: Hollywood Reporter | Author: Steven Zeitchik
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Posted by: admin

Overture and The Film Department could be the latest minimajor and production company to hook up.

The Liberty Media production/distribution company has finalized an agreement to release "Law Abiding Citizen" from Mark Gill and Neil Sacker's Film Dept., and the two outfits have been in talks for a broader distribution pact that would put a number of Film Department titles into the Overture pipeline.

Details are still being hammered out, but if terms can be reached, a pact would allow Film Department titles to capitalize on the full range of Overture platforms, which includes its theatrical releasing arm, home video label Anchor Bay and a TV output deal with Overture sister company Starz.

"Citizen" is the F. Gary Gray-directed crime drama starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx. The Film Department is currently shooting the movie in Philadelphia. Overture has released a number of crime dramas in the last year, including "Righteous Kill" and "Traitor."

For the Film Department, an overall deal would provide distribution at a time when the festival and finished-film market for small- and midrange-budgeted titles is rockier than ever.

Such a pact would also benefit Overture, helping it beef up its slate. The company has been building its roster with a mixture of acquisitions and productions, but a Film Department deal would give it access to titles including the Catherine Zeta Jones romantic comedy "The Rebound" and the John Curran F. Scott-Zelda Fitzgerald biopic "The Beautiful and the Damned."

Neither company would comment on talks regarding an overall agreement.

Industrywide, self-financed producers and newer distributors have been exploring partnerships that would increase their clout and ability to compete with the Hollywood major studios.

The Overture-Film Department talks follow a deal last week between Summit and Participant Media, with that production banner gaining a number of slots on the distributor's release slate and an infrastructure for co-financing and co-productions.

As the foreign-sales market dries up and domestic distribution becomes ever-trickier -- and with the cost of productions going up for financiers -- combinations between outfits with different specialties have become more appealing.


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