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Berneys resurrect Picturehouse, line up Metallica drama

New York-based husband-and-wife team Bob and Jeanne Berney are back in business and have reopened Picturehouse four-and-a-half years after then parent company Warner Bros closed down the distributor.

The development adds another player to a dynamic US distribution space and the Berneys are expected to attend Sundance to scout for product. They expect to release two or three films this year including Nimrod Antal’s Metallica Through The Never. The goal is to increase output to four or five in 2014 and six or seven in subsequent years.

Picturehouse has signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros Pictures International for those titles where it controls international rights. It has also signed an exclusive, multi-year output deal with Netflix, whereby the latter will carry Picturehouse films exclusively in the US shortly after theatrical release.

Bob Berney recently bought the trademark and logo from Warner Bros and will serve as CEO, while Jeanne Berney becomes president.

Metallica Through The Never is scheduled to open on Aug 9 and stars members of the hard rock band and Dane DeHaan, who will play a young roadie whose world is turned upside-down during a concert.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be back in business under the Picturehouse banner,” said Bob Berney. “We worked very hard to build it into a brand known for acquiring exciting, challenging and entertaining films from the US and around the world, and helping them find their audiences.”

“Nim and the band have made a film that really captures the spirit of Metallica and their millions of loyal fans. It’s an entertaining genre film with a concert inside it, a fun ride featuring an exciting young actor, Dane DeHaan. It’s a very cool project to reboot Picturehouse with.”

After Picturehouse closed in May 2008 the Berneys teamed up with Bill Pohlad on an ill-fated partnership at Apparition, which folded in 2009 after less than one year in operation. Bob Berney most recently served as president of theatrical distribution at FilmDistrict, the company he helped to launch in September 2010.

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