No details yet on job losses; Urie will consult with the company.

In a move underlining how squeezed the UK arthouse business has become, UK independent distributor Metrodome is scaling back on its theatrical activities.

In a ‘Board Changes/Change in Strategy’ statement issued earlier this week and posted on the Metrodome Group plc’s Investor Relations website, the Metrodome Board announced that it will “significantly reduce its theatrical film distribution business” in order to conecetrate on its DVD sell-through business and its coproduction activities. It is expected that this will result in job losses as well as cost savings, but no further details were available from Metrodome today about the job cuts.

Company CEO Peter Urie is resigning with effect from March 31.

A source at the company does clarify to Screen that the company’s theatrical business will continue to exist in the future.

Metrodome’s scaling down of its theatrical business has taken its rivals by surprise. It comes at a moment when the company has several highly feted art-house films set for UK cinema release, among them Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, Venice Golden Lion winner Lebanon and Argentinean Oscar winner, The Secret In Their Eyes. The company currently releases around 12 theatrical releases a year and 60 new titles straight to DVD.

The company is still pushing ahead with its co-production plans. Urie will continue as a consultant for the company over the next 12 months and will executive produce Metrodome’s first coproduction, Dragon Fire, along with other films that the Group may produce. He will also advise the Group on other activities, including film and TV title acquisitions and looking at other potential commercial opportunities.