Focus Features Absorbing FilmDistrict Beginning in January of 2014
by Ethan Anderton
October 2, 2013
In some news about the business behind movies, Universal Pictures announced today that their Focus Features arm will be absorbing FilmDistrict in an effort to "maximize its potential by including a greater variety of movies." This year Focus Features put out only five films including The World's End and The Place Beyond the Pines. Meanwhile, FilmDistrict had films like the remake of Evil Dead, Olympus Has Fallen and Insidious: Chapter 2 with Spike Lee's Oldboy remake still coming this fall. Now the merging of these two names is an effort by Focus Features to "broaden the types of films that Focus distributes and increase the number of films the division releases to as many as 10 films per year." Read on!
That statement comes from FilmDistrict founder and CEO Peter Schlessel, who will be the CEO of Focus Features beginning in January of 2014. Following that month, all films currently under the FilmDistrict banner will come from Focus Features. The press release adds that new films from this deal will be "a combination of projects developed and produced internally at Focus, as well as films acquired during various stages of development and production." Hopefully this means Focus will start pumping out more features each year, since this year they've only released five.
But what about Focus Features' current CEO James Schamus? Well, after founding the company and sticking with it for 12 years, Schamus will leave the company to concentrate on Ang Lee’s new 3D boxing drama which is developing at Universal. Schamus had a good run with an inspiring company that delivered some truly great award-nominated films like Traffic, The Pianist, Brokeback Mountain, Eastern Promises, Atonement and some of my favorite films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lost in Translation, Wet Hot American Summer, Brick, Away We Go and Coraline. Hopefully there's more good stuff coming down the line.
It sounds like FimDistrict is just sort of...becoming Focus Features. As opposed to FilmDistrict getting sort of shut down and absorbed into Focus Features... a la when Lionsgate purchased Summit.
Chris Groves on Oct 2, 2013
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