Wrekin Hill’s arrangement with film merchandising giant the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) gives Chris Ball’s distributor the ability to reach retailers and the fanboy demographic.

The partners will release four to five theatrical releases a year starting with Hesher on May 13. The film screened at SXSW on Sunday night [13] and launched at Sundance 2010.

Wrekin Hill and NECA have acquired all English-speaking territories excluding Canada to Alexandre O Phillipe’s documentary comedy The People Vs George Lucas – a SXSW 2010 premiere – and North American rights to JB Ghuman Jr’s musical comedy Spork, which launched at Tribeca 2010. Both titles will open this year.

Wrekin Hill is also launching the genre label Underhill Films. In addition to the theatrical titles that Wrekin Hill intends to release with NECA, the companies will partner on the release of a broad spectrum of DVD and VOD titles for Underhill Films.

The first acqusitions for Underhill Films with NECA are Suri Krishnamma’s thriller Locked In starring Ben Barnes and Elza Dushku and Brian A Metcalf’s fantasy horror Fading Of The Cries starring Brad Dourif. Wrekin Hill executive John Crye is scouring SXSW for Wrekin Hill and Underhill Films.

Wrekin Hill and Underhill releases will benefit from US home entertainment distribution through Wrekin Hill’s ancillary output deal with Lionsgate and Canadian distribution through the output deal with eOne.

NECA recently purchased the assets of game rental service Hollywood Movie Gallery. NECA has handled the merchandising for virtually every major horror franchise and has maintained lengthy relationships with major retailers across the country through its merchandising operation.

“The Wrekin Hill team has built a reputation working on such classic indie films as Memento, DonnieDarko, The Prestige and Boondock Saints, films that helped ignite the fanboy culture that now dominates the mainstream,” Ball said.

“The partnership of Wrekin Hill and NECA will create an unprecedented presence within the marketplace: genuine, trusted voices introducing films to the fanboy community and guiding the conversation about them, from the earliest press announcement through the ongoing life of the brand.  We are thrilled to be launching this partnership with Spencer Susser’s fantastic film Hesher.”

“We are excited to bring the power of the NECA community and the resources of the Hollywood Movie Gallery acquisition to the world of film distribution,” NECA president and CEO Joel Weinshanker said.

“We are uniquely positioned to market these films in innovative ways via our direct relationships with movie lovers. Our colleagues at Wrekin Hill are the perfect partners for this endeavour. We love their taste, their ingenuity and their drive, and are looking forward to our collaboration.”