Another indie bites the dust. At a time of serious contraction in the indie market, Overture Films has been on the block since January.
The Chris McGurk/Danny Rosett era is now over. Since April 1, John Malone’s Liberty Media had been examining two bids to buy the company, including the Gores brothers (who also bid for Miramax), but no movement was forthcoming on the possible sale of Overture and Starz Media.
Overture CEO McGurk and COO Rosett couldn’t buy or make anything, and had three films set for fall release, with no communication from above about the level of their marketing spends. They would have committed $50 million, but that might not have played with new Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. Now marketing chief Peter Adee will run the show and presumably put through minimal campaigns on the films, which the company is contractually obligated to release. McGurk and Rosett, frozen since January, finally gave their resignations to Albrecht on Thursday. (Variety broke the story.) “I want to thank Chris and Danny for their dedication and hard work in building the studio from the ground up,” stated Albrecht, “and wish them well in their future business endeavors.”
The trailer for Let Me In (below) got some positive feedback on the web this week. The horror remake looked to be the most commercially robust of the trio, which had been sitting in limbo since January. More specialized fare includes John Curran’s Stone, starring Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton, and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut Jack Goes Boating, which did not light any fires at Sundance.
McGurk had lined up a list of buyers for Overture and Starz Media, but got no answer from Malone. Over two and a half years the company released sixteen films, and while they weren’t highly profitable, the company was in the black; the last four films–Brooklyn’s Finest, The Crazies, Men Who Stare at Goats and Law Abiding Citizen— earned $50 million in profit. But earlier disappointments included Henry Poole is Here, Paper Heart and Sleepwalking. And Anchor Bay had released on a smaller scale both City Island and Solitary Man.
But this was not a business that Malone wanted to be in. McGurk and Rosett are now free to look elsewhere.
Let Me In trailer: