Now that Bob Berney will no longer be in the frame at FilmDistrict, sources confirmed reports on Tuesday night (Dec 6) that company head Peter Schlessel has signed a three-film distribution deal with Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road for 2012.
A handful of other films will go through Sony, with whom FilmDistrict and Schlessel maintain close ties.
It is understood the move, which comes in light of the imminent departure of president of theatrical releasing Berney, does not foreshadow a closure and illustrates how Schlessel is willing to bide his time and honour distribution commitments made to filmmakers on the upcoming wave of titles.
Open Road will release the renamed Escape From M.S. One (formerly Lock-Out) on Apr 20, followed by the Red Dawn remake on Nov 2 and a third as yet unidentified film. This could be the Gerard Butler rom-com Playing The Field first revealed by Screendaily during Cannes.
Looper was already set up to go through TriStar and now it appears that Sony will also handle Ghost House Pictures’ Evil Dead remake.
It emerged a month ago that Berney and his wife and evp of marketing Jeanne Berney would leave the company on Mar 1 2012 after Schlessel decided to close the New York office and consolidate operations in Los Angeles. Privately sources say Schlessel had become frustrated by the bicoastal arrangement and other intricacies.