Universal Pictures has named its domestic specialised film division Universal Focus. Created in 1999 as the studio's marketing and distribution unit for "niche-oriented productions and acquisitions", Universal Focus is run by executive vice president Claudia Gray and senior vice president Paul Hardart and will handle films from sources including WT2 Films, DNA Films, Alan Parker's Dirty Hands Productions, Jersey Shore Films, The Shooting Gallery, Catch 23 Productions, Steinhardt/Baer Productions, Renascence Electronic Media, Universal Pictures International acquisitions as well as the re-release and restoration of classic Universal movies.

First film to be released by the unit will be Billy Elliot, the new title for Dancer, the Stephen Daldry-directed movie produced by WT2 which was a hit in Directors Fortnight at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Other Universal Focus releases for 2000 and 2001 include:

  • Sally Potter's The Man Who Cried from Working Title.
  • Bill Eagles' Beautiful Creatures, Peter Capaldi's Cocozza's Way and Pat Harkins' Final Curtain from DNA Films.
  • Kasi Lemmons' The Caveman's Valentine from Jersey Shore.
  • Steve Barron's The Rat from Jim Henson Pictures.
  • Kwyn Bader's Loving Jezebel, Frank Novak's Good Housekeeping and Bob Gosse's Julie Johnson from The Shooting Gallery.
  • John Carney's Catch The Sun from Jim Sheridan's Hell's Kitchen.
  • Until Universal Focus launches, USA Films will continue to handle Universal's specialised films which include Neil Labute's Nurse Betty, Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland and John Forte's Mad About Mambo.