Newly ensconced as head of worldwide marketing and distribution at Los Angeles-based Lakeshore Entertainment, former Paramount Classics co-head David Dinerstein is quietly ushering in a revolution.
The quality of projects produced and sold by Lakeshore will stay the same of course, but Dinerstein is plotting an expanded production slate typically falling within the $4m-$30m range, ongoing partnerships with studios on bigger budgets, and more emphasis overall on controlling how the films are handled.
"Our focus is to continue operating as a first-rate international distribution company while producing more commercially viable films domestically," Dinerstein says. "The company has been going through a transition of sorts, striking output deals with the likes of MGM and Warner Bros, and we want to start paying closer attention to how we market and distribute our films, domestically and internationally.
"Because I have studio experience, it's given me the wherewithal to understand the global marketplace in a unique manner. At the same time, I started from the ground floor at places like Fox Searchlight and Paramount Classics and I cut my teeth working for Harvey Weinstein in Miramax's heyday, so I have diverse experience that lends itself to what we're going to do here.
"I understand what our partners are looking for. Quite often financiers and producers will approach a project with unrealistic expectations and won't be willing to collaborate with the studios as well as they might. We want to enjoy a fruitful collaboration."
To this end Dinerstein has promoted vice-president of worldwide marketing Rob Burke to executive vice-president, which will allow Burke to continue his role as the key man in international marketing and expand into the domestic arena, where he will work closely with Dinerstein. "He's a leader and he's highly respected," Dinerstein says of Burke.
Former Arclight president of international sales Jonathan Deckter arrives as senior vice-president of international sales, and will work alongside newly promoted Lakeshore veteran Elisabeth Costa de Beauregard Rose, who assumes the same title. Both will report to Dinerstein. Senior business affairs executive Virginia Longmuir is promoted to executive vice-president and assumes a broader operational remit.
"It's a great team all-round and I'm thrilled to welcome Jonathan."
Lakeshore's Cannes slate includes horror title Pathology from the creators of Crank; the untitled Philip Roth adaptation that Isabel Coixet will adapt from Roth's novella The Dying Animal starring Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson; Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura's serial killer tale Midnight Meat Train; and cyberthriller Untraceable with Diane Lane and Colin Hanks, now shooting in Oregon and set to open domestically through Screen Gems.
In the wake of Summit and Overture's newly minted domestic distribution ventures, a similar move from Lakeshore seems logical. Dinerstein prefers not to be drawn on the subject, and would say only this: "We have the resources and the tools to excel in many different areas of the business."