LA-based Senator Entertainment chief Marco Weber is continuing talks with potential distribution partners this week following the departure of Mark Urman.
Urman returned to New York after less than a year as president and head of Senator’s distribution operation in a move that is believed to have stemmed from the company’s difficulty in building a P&A fund during the economic downturn.
It emerged yesterday that the former THINKFilm co-founder packed his bags for New York several weeks ago. Like Weber he did not attend Cannes, prompting speculation about the health of the company. Senator’s first release The Informers performed poorly when it opened in late April, grossing around $300,000.
Senator’s distribution and production operations continue to exist — for now — and the arrangement whereby Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group handles domestic home entertainment and television distribution rights to Senator’s existing slate remains in place.
The company’s New York office recently closed with the loss of several staff, however this was not a surprise as Weber did not plan to maintain a bi-coastal presence.
The developments mean that Senator has put on hold the release of its two prize films, Antoine Fuqua’s gangster drama Brooklyn’s Finest that Senator paid roughly $4m for on top of a substantial P&A commitment in Sundance, and the terrorism thriller Unthinkable starring Michael Sheen and Samuel Jackson.
Sources said Weber was weighing his options as to how to progress with the films. Meanwhile the next title in the pipeline will be the ensemble drama Fireflies In The Garden this summer, followed by the French gangster epic Mesrine (formerly Public Enemy #1) starring Vincent Cassel.
Weber recently hired former New Line marketing executive Dylan Wiley, who takes his place among a small coterie of executives and support staff in the company’s Los Angeles offices.